To Chavistas

You profit off the indignance of the poor
just like the imperial loansharks you denounce,
you’ve murdered trees and poisoned lakes and swore
the water’s safe to drink then gloat to announce:
“Capitalist pollution is no more!”—
by rubbing on the oil-genie underground
who, along with opposition blood and gore,
waters your magic tree where free crap grows
and tyrants follow like pedophiles at war
with hungry children wailing o’er the sound
of your loudspeaker saying they eat so much more
that toilet paper’s lacking, just like clothes.
What had Chavistas prior to candlelights?
Real lightbulbs. Real, plush toilet paper. Rights.

You took petroleum from its villainy
as number-one pollutant of our Earth,
the food of war-hawk foreign policy,
and you rebranded it, and to all its mirth,
as the painkiller to your socialist grope.
Congrats! Score one for slaying your sacred cow—
Pray this time someone other than the Pope
will buy your tilt-at-windmills that somehow
Neoliberals, destroyers of everything,
drove Venezuela from riches to rags
and not your own mass-opiate and your king
who turned to loot the fruits of Yankee flags
when he went broke (again). Go die in the tome
of history. Fidel can haul you home.



Generation Obama Cubans

He gutted Wet Foot, Dry Foot right before
he left the White House, checking twice to ensure

no Cuban so knees-deep she’d wager death
to escape the poverty can hold her breath.

Funny how, now, he unblocks his donkey ears:
cutting the line that chains others for years

is only bad when done by folks whose lives
were hollowed out like turkey by the knives

of his own leftist brethren who struck rich
off stone-smooth lies that still, with magic, twitch

as lately as twenty-twelve, when more than half
of Cuban voters sold their souls for chaff—

if they still want their Cuban blood at all.
I heard Ring Nine in Hell is quite the maul.


John Gao is a 19-year-old native of Miami, Florida, ex-Texan, and twice expat in China, currently completing his BA in English with a concentration in British Literature as part of a seven-year BA/MD program. 

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4 Responses

  1. C.B. Anderson

    The meter in most of the lines of both poems is very ragged. Exceptions include lines 12 & 13 of the second poem. For some lines, it was possible to make them scan by wrenching normative pronunciation in regard to accented syllables or enforcing drastic elision.

    • John Gao

      Thanks for the feedback! I do make very heavy use of elisions, probably out of my Romance language habits. I also do use a lot more variations on iambic meter to emulate (read: appease) free verse when I write about modern subjects and/or intend that it be read before a popular audience. I can totally understand your critique, though.

  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    How interesting that Obama decided to be very strict and unforgiving with refugees from Cuba, in complete contrast to his welcoming sympathy for illegals coming in from other places.

    Clearly he was motivated by sheer political hatred. Those Cuban refugees were fleeing a Communist state, and were therefore very likely to be strong anti-Communists.

    Obama, a hypocrite par excellence, certainly didn’t want those kinds of voters to get into the United States. You couldn’t count on them to be unthinking slaves in the Democratic Party’s plantation.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Yikes! It’s the Democrat, not the Democratic, Party. A pox on that house, however one may wish to define or describe it.


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