Two More Poems for Paul Ryan by Liam Powell

West Begets West

If there is blood in the water. If the water is the rising type
and the faces of the poor
line the river bed.
Then at this juncture I build a fire. Into the fire goes
the Fourth Estate. There are men with guns
and without guns:
the former replace the trees, the latter the stars.
Family and un-family, nation and un-nation,
the welcome members
of the Third Estate join as well.
I have many stories about them alone
but this is about how the Great Northern
was drawn off its rails
to the open flame and never seen again.
About how the vitality of the landscape
was transfigured and I had nothing
to do with it, but everything to do with how
we translated these months and the months to come,
which was: we wanted to avoid
the old bodies
so the whole party ran from the eastern sea
across the varied continent and into the largest
ocean the world has ever known.


The Money Tree

Everything on this tree
is a dollar.
You can take any item
if something
of similar shape
takes its place.
This is a metaphor.
A representative
who replaces you
at the local level.
Everything on this tree
is a text
examining windfall
as a business best practice.
Touching it triggers
a certain aphasia
for weeks you’ll say chai
tea latte
at embarrassing
Everything on this tree
is natural, but deadly
and on this one
everything has a rich dad.
This is recursion:
where one item
returns to the womb
and spits out a mother
and that mother
is the ledger
where the flower
of all commerce learned its name.


Liam Powell is a writer living in Brooklyn. A semi-finalist for the 2017 Boston Review Discovery prize, his work has been featured in Fields, Maggy, Stretch, and elsewhere. He is former poetry editor of Columbia: A Journal.

Featured image by Yannis Papanastasopoulos

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