Friday, 22 March 2019


Someone who supports the naked 
emperor wants me to die
or so he tweets,
and I think of the places
of worship filling up
with bullets,
filling up with flames—
all those houses of god,
all those faces:
god's faces.

If I sleep,
someone’s dream 
of a border wall built 
out of cages 
haunts me.
Each cage is a group
of children
a chorus of babies
claxon into the desert wind.
Their faces are caked with dirt
and tears. And I say,
God’s faces.

Their parents gone.
My parents are gone too,
lucky to have died believing
in our better country,
where our ancestors died
fighting against dictators
and imperialists. 
I remember the story 
of my great uncle
burning in the Pacific.

I think of the reservations
that became internment camps—
good citizens kept
in pens for being a color,
for being immigrants.
In my American dream,
a bomb pushes everything
away for miles
and turns the sand to glass.

Tonight the emperor is doing
a slight of hand—
an invisible 3-card Monty,
he tells us each card is 
like a stealth fighter.
He says, just trust me,
everybody's a winner!
He looks at us in the eye
and demands, Tell me 
what you want To hear.
He throws an invisible ball
into the air, some us look
where there is nothing,
I watch him fill his pockets
with cash. Everybody's a winner!
if you can believe 
he’s wearing clothes.

© J.P. Dancing Bear

New Zealand rushes to identify Christchurch terror attack victims

Are Children Being Kept in 'Cages' at the Border?

J. P. Dancing Bear's most recent book, Fish Singing Foxes, is out by Salmon Poetry this month. His next book, Of Gods and Monsters, later this year from Glass Lyre Press.
Twitter: @jpdancingbear