Showdown With a Cactus

Poems Chronicling the Prickly Struggle Between the Forces of Dubya-ness and Enlightenment, 2003-2006

Paperback: 144 pp.
Published: 2006

Price: $16.95




While history may withhold its judgment of President George W. Bush, for several more years, Brodsky, in Showdown with a Cactus, sees no reason to wait. In 101 poems, he relentlessly questions the motives behind the foreign and domestic policies of our forty-third president, with special attention paid to the disastrous military excursion into Iraq. Bush's cabinet and advisors, also, are treated to Brodsky's sometimes scathing examination, as is the complacency of many American citizens, who, in the poem "Re: Election," are only too happy to ignore the state of the world: "Sing Hallelujah! George the Lord has risen!"




L.D. Brodsky, who has turned his personal diary of righteous anger into memorable work, . . . [is] a passionate and intelligent poet who pays attention to the world and its endless sadness. In his latest collection, Showdown with a Cactus, he comments wryly in many different ways on the perverse state of American politics, in particular, studying our foolishly immoral stances on the stage of international affairs, our self-deceiving ways at home as well. "Oh, how insistent our emperor is," he writes, thinking no doubt of George W. Bush, who has persuaded a vast nation to engage in this monstrous misnomer, the so-called war on terror, which is exactly the war he needs to remain in power. "How did all this bad will come to disease the world's heart?" he wonders in "Democracy." How indeed. One will find a compelling look at this question, and many more like it, in Brodsky's ample collection.

— Jay Parini, author of The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems


Brodsky has done it again. These witty poems combine his usual lyricism with sharp political observations. They are a must for all who love poetry and who are concerned about the direction the Bush administration has taken this country.

— Noel Polk, editor of the Mississippi Quarterly and author of Outside the Southern Myth and Children of the Dark House





Into the Sea

You look on with a mixture of amazement and disdain,
Wishing you could right the wrongs of Kim Jong-il,
Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and your own president,

As you watch the United States go down hypocrisy’s drain,
Wash away, into a fathomless cesspool
(Iraq’s morass of Baathist retaliation,

Fueled by mercenaries from Saudi Arabia, Iran,
Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine),
For having failed to realize that Pyongyang, not Baghdad,

Poses the most in-your-face nuclear threat
Of the new millennium.
You reflect on the diminished state of your country

And begin weeping, grieving
For those first days of your republic,
When leaders were educated, principled, decent,

Not motivated by avarice, arrogance, religiosity.
Overcome with a torrent of tears,
You see Greece and Rome sinking into the sea.





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