The poems in Pax Americana are born out of the violent, fractious, and disillusioning opening to the 21st century. The decade of protracted wars and economic collapse—coupled with the polarizing of wealth and ideologies in this country—create the catalysts for this book. These are social poems that want to talk, and through talking hopefully make a space where people can meet and find meaning in each other.
“Auspices,” from Pax Americana:
I want to think of them as having been sent up ahead, the swift ones bearing news of tides to follow, so we might get ready, the dark swells and dips of starlings--or grackles-- being that impressive to watch in winter gather nightly above the downtown square, these grackles--or starlings--mostly unnoticed until their purpose tips to overwhelming,where surely some word has been given us. Mostly I find them unpleasant, a grimy congress of incomprehensible bathing in oil-stained puddles slowly cooking off parking lots, or at trash cans, their sharp heads stabbing after this soggy morsel of bun, now this corruption of meat. Mostly they are a nuisance. A tree unwise to walk nearby; a beam risky to leave your car beneath. And on the Internet--where my haphazard compulsive search for understanding leads me-- someone's posted a poorly captured and cut video of "a starling (or grackle, sorry)," he or she writes, who's just started digging into another bird on the lawn, while a bored looking rabbit and we look on this meal. The eating continued for hours, we're told, and the music the maker's spliced in portends that this "appetite is tremendous," warns, "keep your eye on the barrel, a sparrow."