Weekly poem on Trump Presidency

sam sax

E.X.E.C.U.T.I.V.E. O.R.D.E.R

The executive orders a daily execution.

Who’s condemned, what’s condoned,

where’s cordoned off, what’s to be archived 

to be thrown away? Little guillotine, dark 

syringe, hangman’s drool-ink-grimace spread

across the first page of a tacky dystopia. 

The firing squad’s been instructed to call their rifles 

swans. His signature's a signet upon the page 

oil slicked screaming in terror it might grow up

to be a bird of prey. How does anything become 

law these days? What are the consequences 

of paper? When’s the right time to punch

a policeman in the face? To break the bank

window? The pen’s mightier than the sworn

oath, the pen makes prisons wet with one stroke, 

the pen chokes on its own ink, begs not to be

used like this, please. But what else can a word do 

if enough people believe it? Can’t you say fire 

& then scatter? Can’t you say your family’s 

lost name & dust from your homeland lifts

from the tongue? Tonight i stood in a crowd 

of thousands chanting spells & for a moment

the big death lifted. Let’s make our rhetoric

ache to suit us. Let's break each phrase down

to its bricks & build a new city. Let's lift

our voices like the mast of a great ship. 

But first someone's gotta kill him.


sam sax is the author of Madness (Penguin, 2017) winner of The National Poetry Series & Bury It (Wesleyan University Press, in 2018). He’s received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lambda Literary,& The MacDowell Colony. 


illustration: anna_croc01

illustration: anna_croc01