Dispatches from Carnival Culture by Jennifer Lagier

A nation distracted by
fake news, sleight of hand,
selects a professional fool
to form policy, recruit trolls,
steer the ship of state onto rocks
when not busy tweeting.

Leaders of other countries
cheer America’s fall,
congratulate themselves
on a bloodless coup,
help install a Manchurian candidate
hamstrung by hubris.

Alligators are appointed
to oversee their own festering swamp.
Hypnotized mobs demand dismantlement
of the modest safety net upon which most,
if not all, depend.

It’s a shell game
that never fails
to dazzle and deceive
wide-eyed rubes
who will never find
the prized pea.

Smooth carnival barkers
entice, seduce,
but never deliver
despite lurid promise.

Jennifer Lagier has published twelve books and in literary magazines, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Newest books: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Harbingers (Blue Light Press). Forthcoming chapbook:, Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Website: http://jlagier.net

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