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Song for the Deadbeat


A father who didn’t see or write now mourns his son’s passing on the Internet
takes up the pity handkerchief on a Conspiracy Plotters’ List Serve
American flags wave in Adobe Flash, where knowing “Our Rights” is a dot com URL
hosting the male economy on a flash drive
is the hard-drive’s shirt-and-tie set
downloading itself under a Reagan Paternity’s
1980s Pacific-coast sunset

If it’s against Civil Rights to support a living child
must the dead child remain silent?


Empty beer bottles and Chardonnay glasses rim a red overture
in my memory-mind California’s consorting twisting curves
Hell’s Angels teams behind and before me
if paranoia for repetition can be forgiven—
so unpleasant, how love switched
a sentence

darts the heart harpoon
Dances the I-tunes
strains my rocking chair     my swaddled babe
rocks rocks rocks        the cradle waves
spills over like abandonment

dirt of the desert stings
visiting at high altitudes

Turn that bacon over under Morning Star—let me sing
O Daddy Deadbeat, la la la
I don’t love you, I could loan you
the girly zines I found
in a burned-down forest shack close to Yosemite
and if you feel better crooning
for Law and Land
don’t let me screw up the misery—your loss
from sea to shining sea was America the beautiful, is
his mimicry lost on you

Love is not a Window (as in Microsoft)
I watch the drifting leaves on another shore
washing a boy’s tombstone
another mountain, by design
leaves leaves to fertilize
the dead son
hand-held and helped
our little bird
who grew
more man than the man pirating
ragged outline of vicarious sorrow


Forthcoming in Übermütter’s Death Dance, BlazeVOX Books, 2016


Laura Hinton

LAURA HINTON is a scholar, editor, literary critic, and multi-media poet living in New York City. Her scholarly books include The Perverse Gaze of Sympathy: Sadomasochistic Sentiments from Clarissa to Rescue 911 (SUNY Press), the collection We Who Love to Be Astonished: Experimental Women’s Writing and Performance Poetics (co-editor, University of Alabama Press); and also the edited collection Jayne Cortez, Adrienne Rich, and the Feminist Superhero: Voice, Vision, Politics and Performance in U.S. Contemporary Women’s Poetics (Lexington Books 2016). Her poetry books include Sisyphus My Love (To Record a Dream in a Bathtub) (BlazeVOX Books, 2009) and the forthcoming volume Ubermutter’s Death Dance (BlazeVOX Books, 2016). Hinton maintains a blog on hybrid poetics, “Chant de la Sirène,” and teaches as a Professor of English at the City College of New York (CUNY).


The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2016

All Issues