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Five new poems by Holly Day.


My First Nazi


Nathan was the first Nazi

I ever met-his father was a methe addict redneck

who wore swastikas on his motorcycle helmet

saw his son twice since birth. Nathan's mother

was an illegal from Guatemala, was promised

marriage and a green card by Nathan's father

only to be left knocked-up and homeless in California.


And Nathan was a Nazi.

"My dad sent these to me," he'd say

proudly displaying a cigar box packed

with cheap die-cast Iron Cross necklaces, swastika earrings,

mass-produced rings bearing snake-wrapped skulls.

"He's going to come and get me someday,

take me away from all this shit."


Nathan's mother worked from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m.

at Mattel, an assembly-line worker making toys

she could never afford. Once, she brought home

a skateboard, a Christmas present for Nathan, asked me

"Did I get the right kind? Do you think

he'll like it?" I remember feeling envious

over the brand-name board, the killer wheels

even the artwork on the board was way better than mine.

"He'll love it," I said, wondering what

Nathan's father was going to send that year.

"And if he doesn't want it, I'll take it."


a line, (a blue one)




my grandfather won't watch sitcoms because

there are too many black people in t.v.

I watch as his world grows smaller and smaller

as he cuts more and more things

from his life because he doesn't want

to look at black people, new movies,

the news, his walks through the park

answering the door, all to avoid

seeing black people. he spends his days


watching old movies, pretending the world

is Fred Astaire, Roy Rogers, Elizabeth Taylor,

only white people, listens only to Lawrence Welk and

polka records from his childhood in Canada

where he still thinks everyone is

white. I secretly scout out nursing homes

struggle to find ways to ask the staff

how many black people live there

how many white people work there

if there's some way we can keep him

safe from the rest of the world.


a line, (a blue one)




I keep hearing how

he's hurting other children

on the playground, leaving

dead things for the teacher

making more dead things.

I can't see how these stories

half-whispered with barely-disguised

disgust and fear


have anything to do with

the bright blue eyes and happy smile

of the little boy

who greets me with a hug and a kiss

every morning, how can

this monster these frightened mothers describe

have anything to do with me?



a line, (a blue one)


The Interview


I read an interview with my old friend

see the reasons we drifted apart

in his way of speaking, his disgust

of everything outside his realm of experience

these things that festered beneath the quiet

conversations of 15 years ago

have bloomed and overcome the things I used to love


I show the interview to my son, say

this is what happens when you only let in people

who flatter you, lie to you

stand by as you hang yourself by your own self-importance

but then again, at least he's not alone. I just hope

he's not sitting in the dark



a line, (a blue one)


Serial Killers


the concept of the Mensa serial killer

is comfortable to most people because

most people don't want to acknowledge

how dangerous most stupid people are.

the average serial killer

has no delusions of grandeur

spends more time watching television than reading

books on philosophy

works on an assembly line doing menial tasks

wears a baseball cap turned backwards

drives a pick-up truck.


we want to believe

that killing involves planning

that planning requires brains

that the decision to strangle or disembowel

a total stranger

is made in more than 30 seconds or less.

truth is, even the stupidest among us is capable

of the most horrible acts.

even dumb rednecks

can fool the police.



a line, (a blue one)


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