Kenneth Rosen

Manifest Destiny

The etiology of America's zombie-of-war
Mentality, the "Duh!" of 260 million heard round
The globe, echoed in our catalpas long before
Loco Meriweather Lewis and sidekick Clark
Embarked for the Erewhon of Oregon—"Very
Merry weather!" he whispered owlishly, then blew
His brains out in Tennessee. Before Dorothy

Bradford, the governor's wife, slid into the water
Beside the Mayflower. Before those paleolithic
Asians drove their women and yaks over islands
And ice floes to Alaska so they could evolve
Into squaws and buffalo. Before that flu symptom,
George W., resolved to unload his ordnance on Iraq
In fear of suffering the smell of his fever forever.


* * * * * * *


(Merriweather Lewis and Dorothy Bradford, famous suicides, were presumed victims
of early American global ambition.)

Kenneth Rosen is a widely published American poet with a profound interest in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He has taught modern literature and lectured on American poetry in Bulgaria, Turkey and Egypt. His books of poetry include Whole Horse, No Snake, No Paradise and most recently, The Origins of Tragedy, published by CavanKerry Press. His work appears regularly in The Paris Review. He lives in Portland, Maine and is Professor of English at the University of Southern Maine.