What Rough Beast | Poem for April 29, 2017

Robbie Gamble
Ars Protectica: A Monosyllabus

We will need lots of words, big words. Not big as in long, but big as in words that feel big, words that are clear, words like “strong” and “win” and “fight back” and “they will pay” and “build the wall.” Don’t say “black” or “brown,” just say “them,” and we will know what we mean. Save the weak words for them, words like “fail” and “thug” and “sad.” Words that will keep them far from us. For they aren’t like us. No, not at all. Think of the words that will keep us safe from them: “lock ‘em up” and “lock and load” and “stand your ground.” Great words. And “safe,” such a fine word, too. One of the best. Now then, think of things we need to buy more of: bombs, jets, ships, tanks. We can buy more of them if we don’t pay a lot for things we don’t need so much, like health care and clean air and meals on wheels and the arts. These things won’t keep us safe, so why pay for them? Think of all the threats in the world. The world is not a safe place now, but we can make it safe, just for us, if we stick to my plan. Trust me.


Robbie Gamble lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. He recently completed an MFA in poetry at Lesley University. When he is not preoccupied with image and line breaks, he works as a nurse practitioner caring for homeless people in Boston.

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