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Niki Herd's God's Graffitti: Cave Canem 1996-2008 in this issue

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streetnotes

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Photo Credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

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Contributors

Walking By the Duty-Free Shop at the Airport on Memorial Day



photo

Niki Herd

 

 

 

 

Walking By the Duty-Free Shop at the Airport on Memorial Day


 

Sometimes honesty

Can be too much of a thing

 

Outside the tobacco shop

In the duty-free airport

 

Where in a window display

On plate glass, trimmed

 

With the shine of expensive things

Light seductively shines

 

On a carton of cigarettes that reads:

Marlboro—and then below

 

In bold black letters:

Smoking Kills—maybe

 

In the footsteps of great written history

I want to be lied to, to believe

 

That my existence is more important than

Gross profits and fear of lawsuits; the

 

Coolness of cool, that after-sex oral

Treat—run scooter, run scooter—let's

 

Give a dog a bone; but who am I kidding

Even if the words: Smoking Kills

 

Weren't there, there is still the silhouette

Of the cowboy, his hat, and horse riding

 

Westward, though we know what happened

There, and I'm not here to judge it, this is no

 

TV talk-show trial, see I'm a believer in enterprise

Understand the weight between a dollar and

 

A dime, but maybe I can't help but think

About the men dying at war, coffins lined

 

Like matchsticks on the desks of vice

Presidents and secretary of states, who

 

Sit on the boards of companies like

Shell and Sunoco, in the name of—

 

Truth—alliteration and accumulation

 

As gas prices rise tall and hard like good

Dick, and the dead rise together higher

 

Than those twin towers before that day—

Isn't it good to know, at this duty-free airport

 

That we can be in control of our own destiny

Manifest destiny—civilization, sophistication

 

Good will towards all sealed in a box as the near

Naked, blonde cardboard starlet hangs in the corner

 

Of the display blowing smoke rings into the air.

 

 

 

 

Dinnertime Back in the Day


 

My aunt the therapist calls it the art of fencing the way we kids beat down with  eyes anyone who dared to take that rare leftover lone pork chop on a plastic plate set like something to conquer We were the poor man's version of every man for himself stamped by green eagles and box cheese a time when clichés went broke like: blood is thicker than water We looked to jimmy carter and the good book though we had no definition for the word family We were bound because there was no one else because we had no sense to take knife and fork to divide and eat away what stood between us.