Carol Muske-Dukes

February 22, 2019 Muske-Dukes Carol


               “The blood of children ran in the streets/like the

                                blood of children..”

  • Pablo Neruda



No other sound like it. Beyond even spy

listening devices. This sound that holds


us, like, “glued” to  our screens, citizens

of a smashed republic.  (Mussolini, unlike

any of us, saw a perfect cruel simile:  a “rose”

of flesh erupting at a dropped  bomb’s heart.)


Like beauty, unsouled. It is a tale told by an A.I.

full of cruel facsimile, signifying nothing. Nothing:
where the line of  mothers, in prison drab, vanishes in transit,
while the one loud disembodied voice insists


on borders, between us – in our minds, where we

find out early what is alien. No crossing for us into

that other country, where blood runs as blood, as

the small unmarked coffins pile up.  Counted like


our many “likes”, total’d little signifiers, faces of

those  in our monitored protection – as we

are protected from these children, not ours. But “like”

ours, the way our own deaths are like, you know, death.

Carol Muske-Dukes is a professor at the University of Southern California and a former Poet Laureate of California. She is an author of 9 books of poems – most recent is Blue Rose, which was a 2019 Pulitzer Prize short-list finalist.