Militant Thistles

polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"

atos Poor Doors Sheriff Stars spikes

thistles stretch their prickly arms afar

Black Triangle bedroom tax Disrupt and Upset

Nels Hanson

Night Thoughts

 

 

Moonlight through the tilted slats of blinds

invented in Persia historians say, brought

by daring Italian traders to a city of legend

 

and canals, gondolas, singing gondoliers

pushing poles through its muddy shallows  

floats across my floor a raft loosely woven

 

of raffia, the coarse palm frond brown hands

stitch into hats. Lucky my river is laminate

and not the slender Rio Grande’s foul waters

 

tonight a black-haired woman with a black-

haired child sets sail on, her blown-up rubber

ark you see on lakes in summer or wafting

 

sleepers circling backyard pools. Hours ago

the TV newsman explained those voyagers

are refugees, escaping from the country of

 

El Salvador, which means “The Savior” in

another language. Blood keeps falling there

like heavy rain turned red until even fishes

 

fail to navigate a thicker element. Old Rivers

of Babylon, River Styx, Acheron the Greek

“River of Woe,” Truckee River and Kings

 

the Japanese crossed toward the desert camp

at Manzanar, narrow stream called Jordan

where a white dove flew down, descending

 

envoy of the Holy Ghost as the long-haired

man who begins the long journey to a cross

is lifted by gentle cousin John to the surface

 

again, what city lies beyond green willows

on that farther bank, towers like wavering

mirages this dawn appearing about to fall?

Nels Hanson grew up on a small farm in the San Joaquin Valley of California and has worked as a farmer, teacher and contract writer/editor. His fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and Pushcart nominations in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. His poems received a 2014 Pushcart nomination, Sharkpack Review’s 2014 Prospero Prize, and 2015 and 2016 Best of the Net nominations.