if we’re gonna
torture, let’s



qqqqqiron maidens
qqqqqjumper-cable nipple-clamps
qqqqqTesticle stuff!
qqqqqJars of ears!

And when we get nailed

qqqqqYeah, we did it!
qqqqqGeneva Convention, that old thing?
qqqqqWe have iPads now,
qqqqqback then they didn’t even
qqqqqhave TV!

Put out our wrists
for the war-crime cuffs,
share a cell in hell with Milošević
pull kitchen duty with Pol Pot –

but that’s not
the Amerikan way—

let the lawyers say
qqqqqwhy rectal rehydration is
qqqqqA-OK, just so long
qqqqqas we outsource
qqqqqthe heavy work
qqqqqto Egypt, or an equally-qualified

The only devil
is the one in the details,
so we can fly flags
made in China and go
shopping with light hearts,
still brash and confident
that this is the greatest

hollow shell

in the world.



When the water is
a raging torrent
the people galvanize
in sandbags, collar-color
ignored in service
to the common

We go tight-lipped and meatless
in times of just wars,
burn draft cards amidst tear gas
when justice is conspicuously

we bask in the
sunshine on the
banks of a babbling
brook, replete of
Williams-Sonoma picnic baskets
overflowing with
plenty, much more than
enough for those
born to sit
upon the blankets.

Who in this
warm satiety
will be troubled to notice

that the stream
is without fish,

the flowers are Chinese plastic,

this idyll leased by
a limited liability partnership
with an option
to rezone?



April 1994

We were in mourning

because our rockstar

had eaten his gun.

Great Art, we thought,
was lost.

Well, this
guy from school, Turkey,
he couldn’t grasp it.

If I had all that money, he said,
I’d be able to buy
a 4-wheeler.

He would take the 4-wheeler
on Sharp Mountain,

it was all he desired
to achieve Nirvana.

He was genuinely perplexed.

It was hard to feel bad

after that.



Coming in from
a smoke, I found
the fiduciaries
milling about
in front of my office.

There are four
of them:
ooooooooshirts stretched
ooooooootight over bellies, poorly-
ooooooooshaven, running shoes
oooooooowith khaki pants, furtive,
oooooooonervous, like meerkats someone
oooooooodressed as a joke, oddballs
to a man.

Yes? I asked.

Donna broke her leg, one said.

The meeting is cancelled, said another.

Very well, I said, but they
didn’t leave.

They didn’t
know what to do, the
meeting was cancelled.

They looked from their shoes
to me to their shoes again,
shuffling where they stood.

Pardon me, I said, cutting
through them to get to
my office.  I shut the door.

The door has a
little window in it, and
I could see them standing
there, looking at their shoes
and at each other.  Eventually
they went away somewhere,
those poor, strange

I wasn’t even
invited to the meeting,

LUKE NORMSY is a mid-level bureaucrat by day and a very-minor poet and photographer by night. He lives in the same meaningless void as everyone else, but tries to be cheery about it. Masochists and other interested parties can dig his work on Google+.