“State of the Union” by Timothy Liu

Timothy Liu


Seems my tears are good

for nothing but to salt
corn on the cob the hired

help shucks to get me

thinking about something
other than that porn star


dollars richer for keeping
her mouth shut both during

and after my husband

sodomized her right after
we were married. You too?

I’m not immune to feeling

shame. I don’t wear black
tonight not because I don’t

identify in some small way

with the rest of you—no!—
but I too am a Dreamer

decked out in a Christian

Dior cream-colored suit,
my Dolce Gabbana blouse

a nod to humbled privilege

just South of the Tyrol
where no one could ever

imagine building a wall

let alone asking the public
to pay for it! He promises

unity yet sows discord!

What exactly does the meme
of a North Korean refugee

holding up a crutch mean

in the middle of a speech
no one will remember by

morning when everyone

opens their phones to scores
of fact-checked lies as he

tweets more fake news to his

37% approval-rated base?
Fuck Davos! I’m getting used

to taking a separate car

on that short journey from
here to wherever I’ve never

been able to quite call home …

Of course the Chinese see me
gussied up as an angel of death—

raccoon-eyed and diaphanous

under heavy pomade and
camouflage, hovering here

in the balcony like a helicopter

straight out of Apocalypse Now
blasting some inaudible tune

with no safe place to land.

from Poets Respond
February 1, 2018


Timothy Liu: “To watch or boycott the State of the Union address was on my mind. I ended up watching the thing go down.” (web)

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