PoetryIssue 04 | April 2009

Two Poems by Michael Bazzett

The Bear Revolution

As we are graced now with the distance of history
is it really any wonder
they came streaming out of the hills that day?

We all agree the riots were brutal,
and stealing trucks and demanding jobs
is not exactly an innovative tactic, but even critics took note

of the visceral power of their media campaign
and if we honestly wish to understand
ourselves, as we so often claim,

why wouldn’t we contemplate what they broadcast
from that television station in Helena
in the opening days of the conflict:

remember the grainy images of mounded trash,
the grubs and the blueberries,
their own snouts smeared so obscenely thick with honey?

It was urgent work, arresting,
a compelling commentary
on the appetite demanded by a state of nearly constant consumption,

and yet we mocked it. 
The montage aesthetic employed
was beyond us, we questioned their intelligence, made jokes: 

What do you do if a bear throws a grenade at you?
Pull the pin and throw it back.  Yes,

I wince in recollection, and wonder how often
you, too, stood in the back of the elevator
and laughed uncomfortably with the crowd.

But we’re not here for self-abuse. 
We are called here today to resist the seduction
of believing they’ve retreated like shadows into the wild.

This charade is what they would have you believe,
but I happen to have it from a well-connected source,
someone in uniform

that they’re simply lying low,
that comparisons to hibernation would not be completely inappropriate,
that they’ve worked hard to blend in,

camouflaging themselves as rugs
and coats, with a few motivated martyrs
even choosing the indignity

of riding the undersized bicycles they so despise.
Yes, they’re attaining positions of influence,
masking their accents, going to night school. 

Can you not see your own face reflected in such ambition?
Who is it that you resemble
if it is not the dark and wild eyes of such an enemy?

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About the author

Michael Bazzett’s favorite mode of transportation is reading a book in his hammock. He has new work forthcoming in Cream City Review, Literary Imagination, Massachusetts Review, Pleiades, and Prairie Schooner. Read his chapbook, The Imaginary City.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok