“THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS NOT MY FRIEND” – “THE CRICKETS ARE VERY LOUD TONIGHT” – “EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR”

THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS NOT MY FRIEND

The billionaire begets a millionaire.
The millionaire begins plotting
to kill and eat the billionaire.
I’m on the sidelines. Then I fall
into the river and am carried away.

THE CRICKETS ARE VERY LOUD TONIGHT

Sitting at the kitchen table,
looking at the night sky through the window,
I think I see a plane landing at the airport
a mile or two outside of town, but it is a UFO.
Very slowly it approaches the window.
It crashes through the window into the kitchen very slowly.
Very slowly it crashes into me
and my tea spills everywhere.

EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR

I’m halfway across a rope bridge, trying
to get to the only bar in town. To get there
you gotta tie your bedsheets together
and shimmy down from your bedroom window,
walk through miles of cold dew, run
from some dogs, and pretend
you’ve never read Shakespeare,
or if you have, that you hated it.
That’s what I’m doing now
high above the river: Hamlet sucks, Richard II
sucks, The Merry Wives of Windsor
isn’t funny at all
. I fix my eyes
on the black trees crowding the far bank
and tell myself there’s no way
the son of a glover could ever
accomplish anything in life. The bridge
starts to quiver and I tell myself I’m not
a papery sail growing big-bellied in a wanton wind.

— Brad Liening is the author of Deep State Come Shining (Publication Studio Hudson). He lives in Minneapolis and at bradliening.blogspot.com.