Volume 23, Number 2


Poet Richard Hugo once told me
he wanted a Mercedes—
powder blue. I scoffed,
then thought of his arthritic knees,
blackened lungs, dysfunctional liver--
30 years of cigarettes and booze.
He’d fought the last World War,
worked 15 years at Boeing;
he deserved a nice ride.
That was 40 years ago. Today
I bought a BMW,
titanium paint, xenon headlights,
moonroof, 17-inch
alloy wheels.

What did I do
to deserve this? Was I born
at the right time, here
in North America—
far from bin Laden’s caves,
mine-fields, hand-held missiles?
Don’t I deserve to be scammed
by the venal salesman whose boss
pads the sticker with add-ons?
Wouldn’t you like to vandalize my car,
gleaming in the driveway?

Say you were Arabic, pious
in your prayers to Allah,
your country run by
two-faced lackeys.
Wouldn’t you love
to fly to America,
all expenses paid,
to place a plastic explosive
beneath the wheel of my car
and watch it blow
on the nightly news
me in it?

—Ed Meek