Grinning men, by Angi Holden

I am not a silent poet

Their cruelty makes them feel good,
makes them feel proud, happy,
closer to one another.

In such a whirlwind it can be hard to keep track.

Children of immigrants, protected status revoked,
a blanket ban on visas for Chinese students,
and for same-sex partners of foreign officials.

Supporters cheer as the president mocks a professor,
her testimony. Now malice is embraced as virtue, impossible to contain.

Cruelty and rhetoric, intimately connected, flay his targets,
Adolescent male cruelty: a bonding mechanism,
a vehicle for intimacy through contempt. They have done it together.

We hear the cruel laughter:
immigrant children separated from families;
a child with Down syndrome separated from her mother.
News hosts mock a survivor of massacre,
the women who said the president had assaulted them,
the teen survivors of a school shooting.

The president mocks the thousands killed
and tens of thousands displaced by hurricane;
the black athletes protesting…

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