You wear those shoes like a shy mother.
You are a shy mother.
Mother, it’s snobbish nonsense;
all these chanson tramps
just prance prance prance about town
like their names were Shawn Johnson
while you’re at home with your shy shy shoes
and your Johnson & Johnson & Johnson.
Rest assured, that whole louche show
ain’t much more than a Bolognese social:
noxious sedation and KISS worship.
In school they taught us the solution
to, say, 999-2,905. (It’s -1,906.)
They taught us how to pronounce elocution.
They taught us about the British Invasion.
When the Beatles tried grass for the first time
it changed their whole outlook, man.
But I never learned nothin’ about, say, Mushan, Iran.
It’s a small town, Mushan, 400 miles east of Tehran.
Closer to the border of Afghanistan
than the capital of Iran.
The Beatles never played Iran,
or Afghanistan for that matter
but they have played in Japan.
The USA never bombed Iran.
But they’ve bombed Japan
and they’ve bombed Afghanistan
—another school just yesterday.
Some people from Afghanistan
so as not to be bombed
flee to Mushan, Iran.
These people don’t have homes.
They are refugees.
They wrap themselves in fleece afghans
printed with the artwork from Abbey Road.
Jonathan Gerhardson is a poet from Chicopee, Massachusetts. This is his first publication.
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Listen to Jonathan Gerhardson and Ishion Hutchinson read and discuss “Shy Mother” on our Contributors in Conversation podcast.