Jaswinder Bolina

Rubble Causeway, Rubble Clinic



Shatter temple, splinter soup kitchen, incarcerate

the beat reporters and abolish the council, desecrate

the mosque and dispatch the mayor, you can’t delete

the city. The people are still there shielding their tweens



on buses with their grilles kicked in, the tweens still there

blinking at you, every bell there still, and desolate

the skate park, desolate the market, desolate

our CorningWare crusted con chutney, avec sofrito



and fish sauce stagnant now in the washbasins, and you can cleanse

all the ethnics, expel every interloper, and cordon the border,

but you can’t scrub the city, its pipework of phlegm, its hair knot

of telecom cables, subway rave of rats and the last of us



sheltering underground. Now, come, all you autocrats coiffed,

you silken thugs, come, all you hard men in loafers,

root out the last of us, leave her body for the crows,

but the morgue is still there with its bone show.



Everywhere the graffiti sings. Chlorinate the hood

and napalm the precinct, you can’t incinerate the city,

our mercury stashed in your groundwater, dioxides

stowed in your jet stream, the crust and mantel



remember you can’t eradicate the city, our broadcasts already

transmitted, they radio our swelter into the cosmos,

so the cosmos remembers our traffic and weather together,

our news on the hour, sports on the 4s, the pitchmen pimping



0% down on all living and dining room furniture, and the living

remember dining, furniture, napping in flats to the shush

of tires, billow of curtains, billow sun, a tangle of limbs,

somehow the sirens always receding, and the baby still breathing.

Inaugural Ball




the carpenter



must rip and strip

the pine into lumber,



must plane and miter

the planks, assemble



the tiny caskets,

the toddler-shaped



ones, and stack them

into ranks and columns,



must print the receipt

and deliver it



to whosoever cuts

the check, whoever



settles the accounts

payable as the populist



spins and grins and dips

his flinching bride.


Jaswinder Bolina author photo
JASWINDER BOLINA is author of the poetry collections Phantom Camera (2013, New Issues Press) and Carrier Wave (2007, University Press of Colorado) and the digital chapbook The Tallest Building in America (2014, Floating Wolf Quarterly). He teaches on the faculty of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Miami.