Three poems from AMERIKAN CHERNOBYL by Virgil Suárez, Independently Published

Warren Zevon’s Lost Song on Entropy and Desire

Dick Cheney goes hunting with his heart in a box. He cannot disconnect or die.
He shoots a man in the face and the man publicly apologizes for getting in the way.

If you look up J. Edgar Hoover you are just as likely to see a pug in a tutu, gnarly smile and all.
A vacuum cleaner by the same name will suck out all the dirt in your house and in your country.

American History has a long list of racist presidents except for the one black one. #44.
The inhabitants on the Bikini Atoll were told that God approved of the U.S.A. using their island

for a nuclear test. God sure has a way of helping all the folks who have died in the name
of love. Ask Gandhi. Ask Martin. Ask Malcolm. Heck, go ahead and ask Jesus himself.

Hunter S. Thompson knew that Richard Nixon and Bebe Rebozo were getting it on
in Key Biscayne. They’d stay in and eat Chinese, Nixon didn’t know how to use chopsticks

so Bebe fed him fried dumplings like a baby bird. In London, the Queen is dead,
the Sex Pistols announced it forty years too early. Now her son Charles pretends

he can suck his own dick like Ron Jeremy. Oh, Diana knew, his pony boy fetishes scared her.
No wonder he walks funny, and now that he is king he will demand his handlers to remove

the tail inserts and keep them clean. The biggest secret, of course, is that Senator McCarthy
was a communist himself, a Kremlin operative who had sold his soul so that scientists

could make more hair grow on his scalp. Nothing surprises the Church of Scientology
or the Mormons with their castrati soprano underwear and their nipple clamps

that pick up signals from the outer reaches of the universe. In God We Trust, we
are God’s favorite nation.  We know because we invented the slinky, Mr. & Mrs. Potato

Head and Evel Knievel who died in Clearwater, Florida of pulmonary disease. Sad
how that goes. You go looking for death and it comes to you in Florida of all places.

God’s waiting room, please take a number. On the TV, Florida Man has been arrested
for fucking an Alligator who he claims gave him full consent when it made the water ripple.

Lev Sergeyeviç Termen (Leon Theremin) Лев Сергеевич Термéн

It’s there, the Theremin, in the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” like those The Thing
recorded outside of the U.S. ambassador’s Moscow office. “Let’s go get laid,”

was one of many things The Thing recorded for the Russians. Skinny Lev as a boy
riding a unicycle down the street chased by bear cubs escaped from the circus.

He knew then he was bound for greatness. Ionized air between his ears, he knew
about frequencies of the heart, always inventing and experimenting and fornicating

under the laboratory tables with his first wife, a splinter piercing his right testicle
which made him reach a frequency so high he adjusted the theremin to reach it.

What we don’t like about the Russians is the way they spit when they talk, the way
they gesture with their meaty hands as if to say sausage no good, cabbage too crisp.

All geniuses suffer terrible fates. They return to their countries to find home again,
but home is a Gulag for re-education, transformation back to a simpler methodology.

I snitch on you, you will regret having stolen my sliver of soft butter I kept in a shoe.
This is music for the ages, an angelic instrument for the soundtrack of Fat Man

dropping from the sky like an ogre’s broken tooth. Look ma, no hands. Mushroom
cloud ejaculate, the poor sky doesn’t appreciate the money shot. Horror music

to electrify the hair on the back of the neck. Our fortunes are up to the wind.

Of Satellites and Tinfoil

From space you can see the shimmer
of the thousands of immigrant children
wrapped in tinfoil sleeping on the desert

sand, silvering like minnows, restless
in the night, held in captivity.  Mountains
as big as the silence. Ripples in the sea

of the desperate. You who cross borders
to save your lives don’t know you’ve
traversed into a heartless, blood thirsty

country. No matter your hunger
and insatiable desire for freedom
and the clawing of babies crying

for their mothers on the bone-dry soil,
picking up bits of broken glass to hold
up in the moonlight. Dreams of headless

dolls given to pass the time. Faceless.
No Lone Ranger or hero to the rescue.
For now the children stare at the empty,

starless dark. In space the thousands
of satellites orbit the earth and they show
nothing of this and the way we hold

our breath in unsurmountable sorrow.


Virgil Suárez was born in Cuba in 1962.  He has lived as a naturalized citizen of the United States since 1974.  He is the author of a multitude of fiction, memoir and poetry.  Most recently the University of Pittsburgh has published his two latest collections of poetry before this one: 90 Miles: Selected and New Poems and The Painted Bunting’s Last Molt.  He is a proud and happy grandfather.

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