Jan Clausen


30 Seconds over Tokyo

           "It would be nice if you could just ravel out into time."
                       —Darl, As I Lay Dying

In the war room
it's war
that smiley face.

Trot out the bludgeons
have the flung
skulls discuss.

Hard men
get right down there
in the meat.

They hoot
at our ginger

The kid
gnaws dirt in her cellar
and is French

so trumps
the Japanese
whose marvelous hair

went rootless
like heart-tufts
of artichoke.


They're holding hats to the fire.
They're selling us down the drain.

Bones away
yell the boys
of my childhood.


If I slice my own throat cleanly,
I'll cauterize the fear.
The scar should heal
in the shape
of an "arabesque."


...things girls
can't do
in Afghanistan...


I just want to know
that somebody
gets home safe.

That the years will be okay
smuggled close
to strife's soft hide.

This way
to the Theater
of Peace.

Everything happens
as if there's
an elsewhere.

[first appeared in North American Review]

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