January 3, 2021

Martha Greenwald


Dear Gentle American Friend,

Not too much long ago, I was a beloved Prince.
But now I am humbled, a kind doctor, diplomatic,
& I’ve tried to reach you for months, to convince
US Airport Authority that I can cure this pandemic,

For I possess stockpiles of uncontaminated N-19 masks:
NovaStars! Triple-ply, valved, certified, gold-plated—
But my crates remain at US Airport Authority Nebraska,
Requiring legal backup papers, to be verified, then dated.

I cannot deliver any freight till international permit fees
Are paid. Which levied $300 US. Which is a small cost
Given our supreme copper-infused cloth of magic quality,
Woven by grieving women, their kidnapped daughters lost.

God asks: Who will help? Orphanages in disrepair await!
Once the warehouse pallets go released, I’ll travel to heal
Children’s health, fill their sad stomachs & empty plates,
Grippe & melancholia prevented, thanks to a modest deal

Which you are here offered. Pray listen, dearest friend,
To a secret, medical secret: NovaStars banish the worst
& wildest virus dreams. 3 for $50: all nightmares end!
God comprehends—we weary of our mother’s ghosts,

Our father’s devils, dead lovers, & your sister, stillborn,
Who calls to us … however, NovaStar masks will usher
Such spirits away, respectfully, so you may waken, mourn,
Then proceed through today, protected by safe fabric fibers

Which filter 100% bad thoughts. Sewn seams expel disease
When you exhale but you’ll inhale clean air & memories—
Somewhere at the back of your tired head, songs that tease
& names you can never remember, return like miracles.

Thus N-19’s, antibacterial, repel most airborne particles,
Which is why God asked me to share his nano-technology
With good people. But 1st I must pay legal backup papers,
Or I’ll sicken again in prison, where life is dangerous lonely.

While I wait, I live in fields beside US Nebraska Airport.
But do not worry. In the terminal atrium, I found a yellow
Baby blanket that still smells of baby. It brings comfort.
Runway C is peaceful by night. At dawn, tall grass glows

Greener than anyone might imagine, the color of peridots.
Which are mined in my country. I could send you gems,
With N-19 masks, if Hon. Ambassador Z lifts embargoes,
If I receive cash funds via UN World Bank Money Gram.

If you hurry payments, which will be promptly blessed,
Your dark dreams will thank you, your germs, your breath.
With immediately effect, once you confirm this message,
I’ll enter the warehouse, again, with love & happiness.

Best Regards,
Hon: Dr. François Smith

from Poets Respond
January 3, 2021


Martha Greenwald: “The news about the effectiveness of masks persists, including the recent proclamation that one should wear two for better protection. I recently received several scam/phish emails about various anti-Covid gear items and was amazed by the claims made. I wanted to spin a poem from those scams, playing with their odd language and syntax in rhymed quatrains, to balance insanity with formality.” (web)


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