14 May 2010 | Vol. 10, No. 1

The Dead Madrigal Bears of Afghanistan

– for Paul Cook

They wear the clever hats

of the Dog Star, of vehrmacht palettes,

not, mind you,

the German officers, but the bears

who are the visitors!

A blue light around their collars

and gold foil for long sleeves.

They are giant, they do bleed

the cold fat of rationed spam.

They read Eckhart to their children—  the sermon

on being subtracted from stone.

They have lost all tolerance

for clear-cutting in the Amazon,

so they will invade soon—  the celebrated

unbuttoning of strangelets in micro-railings,

in delayed proton escort,

and the stargate will activate like a Swiss Franc.

So much for the scribes of cholera, rice

shortages and the blue pomegranate

with a white worm in it.

They have been hunted into sleep

where the clean lifts

of their planet remain pinstripe

behind a dark vacant lensing.

They will carry banners that say:


be unpleasant,

unpleasant at best with bears,

or aliens reflecting off the trapezium of Orion.

They do wash in buckets

where the moon reflects a calculus

fullstop. Blessed.

But blessed against the new terror.

And the very old bearded cigars

of our planet.

About the author:

Norman Dubie's most recent collection of poems, Insomniac Liar of Topo, was just published by Copper Canyon Press. He lives in Arizona.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Norman Dubie at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 10, No. 1, where "The Dead Madrigal Bears of Afghanistan" ran on May 14, 2010. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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