Archive for February, 2015

by William Skink

A gaff is defined as a spear or spearhead for taking fish or turtles; a handled hook for holding or lifting heavy fish; a metal spur for a gamecock.

A gaffe is a mistake made in a social situation.

Maybe someone could clue in the editorial staff at the Missoulian about the difference an “e” makes: Tester lawsuit gaff reveals real frustration with logging litigation.

Here is the hilarious opening of the “article”:

Anyone who’s worked a fire lookout knows it’s tough to tell a wisp of morning fog from the smoke of a fresh lightning strike.

Not to excuse last week’s “four Pinocchios” gaff Sen. Jon Tester made regarding timber lawsuits, but it’s really hard to figure out just what the U.S. Forest Service is up to.

Let’s put aside the irony of the word selection for a moment. What the Missoulian is trying to accomplish for our senior Senator is a downshift of his Big Lie to a simple mistake. And once that’s done, change the subject:

And Tester’s misstatements about problems with national forest management may reveal a hotter issue: Congress’ fixation on changing the way people can challenge the agency in court.

It’s hard to find words to describe this kind of “reporting”. Tester lies about litigation so blatantly that he’s called out by the Washington Post, and the Missoulian decides to give the bulk of the article to those with…concerns about litigation:

“There’s nothing in the cut-and-sold reports about lawsuits – it’s just about timber sales,” said Todd Morgan of the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. “And that doesn’t get at this spider web of connectivity, where one project gets litigated and it has an impact on lots of other projects. What they’re measured by is not always really clear.”

What is clear is that Montana Democrat Tester’s Republican colleague Sen. Steve Daines was on the same subject last week.

On Thursday, Daines challenged Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell on “the implications of fringe lawsuits on the responsible management of Montana’s national forests and highlighted the severe effects that diminished timber output has had on Montana’s economy,” according to spokeswoman Alee Lockman.

Tidwell apparently agreed, responding: “The litigation definitely does impact and it’s not just the litigation. When we get a temporary restraining order, we have to stop and wait. Every time we get a lawsuit, the same staff that would be preparing for the next project, they have to prepare to go to court.”

My emphasis on “every time” because that’s just not true. For anyone actually following this closely you will know that litigation doesn’t always stop logging projects from continuing. But hey, for a paper that can’t even choose the right word for a headline, why bother with facts in the content of the article, right?

I sympathize with activists like Matthew Koehler. Because it’s an ongoing battle just to counter top-level politicians and local media, who blatantly lie and spread propaganda, resources must be expended in the scramble to get accurate information out. If the intent is to keep more honest organizations occupied in perpetual damage control over messaging, then it’s an effective tactic.

This is how the article wraps up:

“Clearly, there is a great deal of frustration with litigation,” University of Montana political science professor Rob Saldin said. “Tester clearly misstated the situation, but I do not feel we’re at a place where this frustration is unwarranted. Some are saying litigation is holding things up, and others say the courts are the only thing we have to prevent catastrophe on our national forests. I think we really need to have this dialogue and we need more accurate figures and information. That’s the only way we can get a better assessment if we’ve blown things out of proportion or there’s real merit there.”

Sure, let’s have a dialogue. It should start off with the people who made “misstatements” apologizing for poisoning the dialogue with lies. Anything less signals this farce will continue, abetted by the servility of our local media.

The F Word


never no how say
Fascism flies the stripes
and stars the world over
deny, deny, deny
never ever compare
Nazis to The Hill
a holocaust in Mesopotamia?
a Bush the same as Bill?
no, cast the Adolf shadow
upon the old Great Bear
good Americans nod their heads
giving up their share
to feed their death machine
to world war the globe
never no how say
how close we fit the mold

—William Skink

by William Skink

I wanted to do a follow up to the last post, Jon Tester’s Big Lie, because based on one commenter (Dan) I’m getting the feeling there is some reluctance to acknowledge just how blatantly obvious Tester’s lie was, not to mention the subsequent damage control, which wasn’t much better. That is why Jon Tester earned himself a 4 Pinocchio rating on the lie spectrum from Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post. From the link:

Logging on federal lands is an important part of Montana’s economy, with the Forest Service having the complex role of seeking to keep the forests healthy while also keeping the state’s mills running. Meanwhile, environment groups in the region are active in making sure the agency does not violate key laws, such as the Endangered Species Act.

Thus, there is an inherent tension. Even so, in 2014, the Forest Service’s Northern Region which includes Montana, met its timber harvest goal for the first time in over 14 years. The region harvested 280 million board feet — enough to build nearly 10,000 homes.

The Forest Service also recognizes the important role of environmental groups who challenge some of its decisions. “Things should be litigated that need to be litigated,” said Heather Noel, a Forest Service spokeswoman. “If there is something the Forest Service has missed, it is very healthy. We absolutely should be tested on that.”

But, despite Tester’s protestations, there is relatively little litigation involving timber sales — and even when there is, it generally does not halt logging operations.

First of all, let’s examine Tester’s claim about every logging sale. According to Tom Martin, a Forest Service deputy director for renewable resource management, there are 97 timber sales under contract in Montana’s national forests. Of that number, just 14 have active litigation, so about 14 percent. But only four of the sales are enjoined by a court from any logging.

These four sales are the Miller West Fisher timber sale in Kootenai National Forest, two Glacier Loon sales (Swan Flats Stewardship and Lunar Kraft Stewardship) in Flathead National Forest and Meadow Creek in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. We might question the inclusion of Meadow Creek on this list because Forest Service records show the agency itself pulled the decision without explanation. In the Flathead case, the Forest Service choose to appeal rather than accept a court decision ruling against it, thus extending the delays itself.

In any case, even if one accepts the Forest Service’s definition of enjoined sales, just 4 percent of the timber sales cannot be logged because of litigation.

This is very specific information that I doubt even the most ardent supporters of our senior senator can deny. He lied. And then he dug deeper. Here’s more from Kessler:

Meanwhile, there are problems with Tester’s revised statement. In that case, he tried to change the subject by changing the metrics. “What we gave was volume of sales,” acknowledged David Smith, another Forest Service spokesman. “That’s quite different from number of sales litigated.”

But it turns out that the volume of sales under litigation (69.4 million board feet) was being measured against annual timber volume (145.3 million board feet). That is apples and oranges, since “very little of this 69.4 million has been cut this year,” Noel acknowledged.

Moreover, “under litigation” is a rather expansive term because it includes projects which are still being logged even as disputes are settled in courts. (The Forest Service also sometimes counts as “under litigation” areas which are not under contract or where an environmental group simply has said it intends to sue.)

The Forest Service ultimately provided a figure of 271.3 million board feet that is under contract in Montana, as of Dec. 31, 2014. Given that many of the projects being litigated are being logged, it is unclear how much has been cut already. So the only reliable figure we can use is the projected volume of the four projects that are enjoined from any logging: Miller West Fisher (15.4 million board feet), Swan Flats (6), Lunar Kraft (4.3) and Meadow Creek (2).

That adds up to 27.7 million board feet, or about 10 percent of board feet remaining under contract. That’s a far cry from “nearly half.”

We should also note that of Montana’s nine national forests, only three have projects under contract that have been halted by litigation.

Politicians lie. The joke is you can tell when they lie because their lips are moving. But this is more than just a lie. It’s a purposeful escalation against people Tester has labeled extremists, the same provocative term John Boehner used after Obama vetoed the Keystone piepeline. Why is that important? Because it actually endangers people’s lives, as this tweet from John S. Adams indicates:

John S. Adams @TribLowdown:

@HelenaVigilante I’ve interviewed people who were physically threatened w/ violence & had their home shot at over forest policy issues.

It’s sad, thinking back to 2006, the hope that many of us had when we cast votes for Tester. Now my hope is that a reckoning will come in 2018. Tester isn’t just a proven liar–he’s a reckless politician willfully misrepresenting an issue that some people are willing to commit crimes over. And litigation, when it works, only works because the courts determine that laws are being broken.

If low-information wing-nuts think litigation has stopped ALL timber sales, then who knows what some unhinged, gun-toting actual extremist will do to the people they identify as being responsible for something that was never true to begin with.

Jon Tester should apologize directly. So far the damage control has been no better than the lie itself. Montanans deserve better.

It would also be nice to hear something from Tester’s supporters, the ones who would be expressing their outrage if this was a Republican lying so blatantly about an issue so many people feel very strongly about.

by William Skink

there once was a man told a whopper
about the environmentalists he hates
but if supporters ignore it
then who will deplore it
when he runs again in 2018?


Jon Tester lied big time on Montana Public Radio, and so far only one of his targets, Matthew Koehler, has called him out. That is until today, when Ochenski’s column hits the stands.

Here is Tester’s lie: “Unfortunately, every logging sale in Montana right now is under litigation. Every one of them.”

And here is the truth from Ochenski’s column:

• The Bitterroot National Forest has not seen a single timber sale litigated since 2006, which is before Tester even went to the Senate. Zero.

• There was not a single timber sale lawsuit filed on the Lolo National Forest from 2007 to 2012 and then had two lawsuits of which only one is still current. In the meantime, 99 active timber sales were conducted from 2005 to 2010.

• The Flathead National Forest has 13 active timber sales, with four lawsuits pending.

• The Region 1 National Forest announced in October of 2014 that it had reached its timber target goal, logging 280 million board feet of timber. Notably, that’s the first time Region 1 met its timber harvest goal in 14 years because the agency “overhauled its litigation strategy” according to Regional Forester Faye Krueger, who told reporters, “the main emphasis is on threatened and endangered species” saying the agency is paying close attention to previous court rulings and working hard to develop projects that get it right the first time.

Besides lying about the lawsuits, Tester conveniently omitted discussing the 2014 Farm Bill, under which some 5 million acres of Montana forestland that Gov. Steve Bullock nominated can be logged with little or no environmental analysis or public review and comment.

Is this a problem for Montana Democrats? Do they care their Senator came to office with the help of environmentalists, and now their Senator bashes them every chance he gets? Do they care Tester lies, misrepresents, labels non-collaborators as “extremists” and uses legislation to get around pesky things like the Endangered Species Act? (after decrying riders that is the method Tester used to delist wolves).

At the national level Democrats are trying to figure out why they got their asses kicked, politically speaking. Well, Tester has provided a very tangible example of why more and more people are saying to hell with voting. We don’t believe you. We don’t believe you really stand for anything save pleasing whoever you think will get you reelected.

If Montanans are inclined to vote for Jon Tester again, will they even realize what kind of deceitful person they are sending back to the snake pit in DC? Probably not. Will our local media unpack this whopper? Will any of those “progressive” bloggers make noise about this deceit? Besides a few voices, so far there has been mostly silence.

And so it goes.

Muddled Message

by William Skink

When you lose a competition you were trying to win, one course of action is to figure out why you lost in order to adjust for the next go around. The Democrat machinery has apparently put the cogs into motion to generate an internal report, as reported by McClatchy DC (h/t jhwygirl):

Democrats have become a confused political party with a muddled message and an inability to turn out enough of its loyal voters, a party task force charged with how to revive the embattled party said Saturday.

“I am here to tell you the Democratic Party has lost its way,” said Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who presented the report to the Democratic National Committee WINTER.

Ok, I’m a sucker for the platitudes of moral failing, so let’s see what this process of reflection has produced.

“In order to win elections, the Democratic Party must reclaim voters that we’ve lost, including white Southern voters,” the report said. But the party also has to “excite key constituencies such as African American women and Latinas.”

Beshear talked tough about the DNC shortcomings. “This should be the time for Democratic leaders to rise up to the forefront as defenders of the people and we think we have,” he said.

But, he said, “the American people by their votes don’t agree with us.”

Hmmm, maybe it’s because you just aren’t explaining it pretty enough for us.

The Democratic Party, he added, “has too often allowed its message to become muddled.”

Placating a patchwork of demographics is a difficult job, and Democrats aren’t doing it very well. The other side has no problem lying (the real translation of muddled message) to their constituents in order to create enough blind outrage leading “white Southern voters” go out and vote…for Republicans.

So what did this internal report advise?

The Democratic task force, which will continue meeting through the spring, offered some general recommendations for change.

It called for an effort to “create a strong values-based national narrative” that encourages people to vote. Beshear urged better defining the Democratic brand, rather than just appear to be a series of policy statements.

Democrats had counted last year on strong turnouts by women, Hispanics, younger voters and African-Americans, but turnout was down from 2012. Get people out, officials said Saturday, and Democrats will do well.

“When we vote, we win,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

A strong values-based national narrative? What the hell is that? What it’s not is an admission of the real problem: what Democrats actually do (or don’t do) once elected.

The McClatchy piece ends with this:

Though hundreds of millions were spent last year on ads, organizing and other strategies, party leaders insisted they’d prosper if they stressed their commitment to helping the middle class and the less fortunate.

“Democrats care about so many things. Republicans only care about taxes,” said Patsy Keever, North Carolina Democratic Chairman.

Sometimes, the insiders said, people got too many messages. “There are so many things Democrats care about, but not every Democrat cares about every issue,” Keever said.

Too many messages? That’s rich. I guess hundreds of millions of dollars spent on ads can’t change the reality people are actually experiencing in their day to day lives.

If I had to write a quick poem about it, it might go something like this:


I like my national narrative
values-based, and strong
like how NATO helped out Libya
with lots of helpful bombs

and in this wondrous story
we help our friends, Ukraine
but only the western ones
who never shoot down planes

I like my national narrative
and the freedom fighters we arm
who never become jihadis
who blowback helpful harm

by William Skink

On almost every foreign front the U.S. is escalating, which I’m guessing is why Obama wants Congress to give him cover for the new war he’s already started with that old, dusty AUMF. Truthout frames it succinctly:

As President Barack Obama presented his proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to Congress, he declared, “I do not believe America’s interests are served by endless war, or by remaining on a perpetual war footing.” Yet Obama’s proposal asks Congress to rubber-stamp his endless war against anyone he wants, wherever he wants.

It’s kind of like how Obama said he ended the war in Afghanistan, but not really. I hope the new AUMF includes a new war against the various factions that have torn Libya apart after that little humanitarian thing that happened a few years ago. Go Hillary 2016 yeah!

I’m not breaking from the mediocre poetry I’ve been keeping myself to here just to toss the usual jabs, no, instead I must commend Obama for what looks like maybe could possibly be a significant push back against apartheid Israel being led by a man who may have finally over-played his hand.

Here’s Mark Gaffney via Counterpunch:

Finally. After many years of official hypocrisy, a US president appears to be playing hardball with Israel. The other day, the US government declassified a 1987 report documenting Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program.

I have been a critic of President Obama, but one has to admire the timing of the release which I suspect was ordered by the White House. Next month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak before Congress, at the behest of House speaker Boehner, and the topic of Netanyahu’s address reportedly will be Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. The fact that neither Speaker Boehner nor the Israeli government first cleared the speech with the White House has become controversial, and for good reason. Several prominent members of Congress, among them Senator Leahy, have already indicated they will boycott the speech, which will be a transparent attempt at an end run around the president.

Israeli PM Netanyahu is a smooth talker, but he is in no position to lecture Iran or any other state about nuclear weapons. The just-declassified report shows up Netanyahu for what he is, a liar.

All sixteen US intelligence agencies agree there is no hard evidence that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. As a signatory of the nuclear non proliferation treaty, Iran’s nuclear power program is fully safeguarded by IAEA inspections. Israel by contrast is a rogue state that secretly developed nukes while thumbing its nose at the world. Israel has long refused to sign the NPT.

The declassified 1987 report indicates that from the 1980s on the US was well-informed about Israel’s hidden nuclear agenda. Israel’s nuke program is evidently a carbon copy of the US program.

We know that Israel smuggled nuclear technology (triggers, known as krytrons) out of the US, highjacked a ship on the high seas loaded with uranium ore, deceived US inspectors, and much more, all the while lying about its true intentions.

It also appears that Israel provided the IAEA with phony documents about Iran’s nuclear program.

Timing is everything in politics. With the report now public, Obama will be in a stronger position to apply pressure on Israel to sign the NPT and open its nuclear sites to IAEA inspectors; or face the prospect of losing US economic and military aid. Why? Because a US law (the Symington amendment of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act) bars the US from giving aid to nations that engage in clandestine nuclear weapons proliferation. For many years, the US chose to ignore the law. But now that Netanyahu plainly intends to stir up trouble for Obama in Congress over Iran, the president has apparently decided to take off the kid gloves. If Obama follows through, and I hope he does, it will the smartest policy move of his presidency. The president deserves all the support that we the people can give him on this issue.

Damn. I wonder where this will go.

Kenneth Rexroth addressed a conference of Western Writers in 1936 with an essay titled The Function of Poetry and the Role of the Poet in Society. For those not familiar with Rexroth, he was known as an eclectic radical:

A prolific painter and poet by age seventeen, Rexroth traveled through a succession of avant-garde and modernist artistic movements, gaining a reputation as a radical by associating with labor groups and anarchist political communities. He experimented amid Chicago’s “second renaissance” in the early 1920s, explored modernist techniques derived from the European-born “revolution of the word,” played an integral part in the anarchist-pacifist politics and poetic mysticism that pervaded San Francisco’s Bay Area in the 1940s, and affiliated himself with the “Beat Generation” in the mid-1950s.

The essay I’m excerpting for this post comes from a collection edited by Bradford Morrow, called World Outside The Window (New Direction, 1947). Right from the start Rexroth has my attention:

I believe that to a certain extent always, but in modern times especially, the poet, by the very nature of his art, has been an enemy of society, that is, of the privileged and the powerful. He has sometimes been an ally and spokesman of the unprivileged and the weak, where such groups were articulate and organized, otherwise he has waged an individual and unaided war.

Modern times? 1936, to most Americans, is probably ancient history. It is, after all, nearly 80 years ago. But there’s resonance—a 2015, post-modern overlay of that time between the Great Depression and the lead up to world war—that’s unsettling.

Later in the essay Rexroth describes some of the economic pressures on what could be possible if not for the lack of support for the arts:

Vanguard or rear guard, it makes very little difference today. Our most significant poets, whatever limited prestige and reputations they may enjoy, are nonetheless outcasts from this society. We may not all of us be extraordinarily distinguished or considered tremendously significant in the world of letters, but insofar as we are poets, we are enemies of this present society. None of us is in the position of my friend in New York. We either have some non-literary source of income, or we are employed by the WPA, but it is only an accident that we are all not so many Villons. The forces which control much of the world, forces which in America and in California are striving to suppress the democracy and creative freedom we have, have little use for us. They are committed to the belief that the sword is mightier than the pen. We are outcasts in their eyes already. None of us makes a living by poetry, although we think it one of the most important activities man has ever had or could ever hope to have as long as society remains as it is.

We have met to preserve the minimum conditions under which creative work is possible. We have not met to form a literary school or to persuade each other of the advisability of our individual techniques. We have not met to discuss Proletarian art, Surrealism, or heroic couplets. As writers we can make a significant gesture of defiance in the faces of those who are trying to remove America from the civilized world. But alone we cannot do very much else. There is a potential audience of all the producing classes of the West, which obviously we have not reached. We are conscious of the dangers which threaten what civilization we have. It is our job to awaken this audience to these dangers and to ally ourselves with the common people who have already awakened. It is they, not we, who will be the deciding factors in the coming struggle. Any moderately efficient fascist police could in a month silence or exterminate every honest writer in America. But they could not so easily dispose of farmers and workers, the common people upon whom the life of the country depends. It is still possible to rally the American people to the defense of their democracy.

I don’t know, Kenny. I think democracy is gone.


eye of the beholder, what do you see
planned for the world in 2015?

I see a rocket coming from Churchill’s head
and from Cameron’s the rise of a mushroom cloud

I see Amazon packages drone through the air
as Spiderman swings over Alice in Wonderland
gazing at Cheshire perched on a branch
sprouting from Obama’s left leg

there’s a Panda on steroids dwarfing a Sumo
holding an outdated battery
and a crop duster hovering over a kid eating noodles
near the red-tied chest of Putin

of course The Pied Piper is playing, far left
with a nod to the British Invasion
now 50 years old
emblazoned on the bass of a drum set

the tortoise in the middle is most likely Fabian
which means when they strike, they strike hard
(lines of emphasis around the shell
makes ominous two arrows marked 11-3 and 11-5
buried near the tiny feet of Alice)

jive man in a smart blue suit, hand up in salute
stands front and center of the show
with an odd Ghost peeking out from his right leg
browsing a brochure that says VACATION

at least, we can say, we aren’t Hollande
being penetrated by the stare of a woman
with wings and a nest full of eggs
attached to the front of her head

next, in red letters, behind Panda,
on what looks like a sandwich-board
this: PANIC
and below that: Federal Reserve

this is just some of the fun one can have
when setting a global agenda
call it art, propaganda or cryptic disclosure
symbols operate in a realm beyond words
and those in the know get the message

—William Skink



H is for having a haven from taxes
H is for smack and the money it makes
H is for holding long after the taking
H is for hellfire if they don’t play along

S is for secrets, for sensitive discretion
S is a silence that covers all crimes
S is the way snakes like to slither
slowly behind signs over long periods of time

B is for business basted in greed
B is for blowback blasting civilians
B is a bank for monsters and cheats
who believe their bodies are far beyond reach

C is for coming, the inevitable consequence
C is for cameras through which they will watch
C is the crisis they latch on to like ticks
counting each drop they suck from the host

—William Skink


men who can’t restrain grey matter
are deeply afraid of yoga pants
laugh it up all you want
that one would legislate leggings
and attempt to dress-code necklines
speaks to broken control mechanisms
in the modern heterosexual male
that can’t be ridiculed away

ladies, dudes are having difficulties
with the paradigm shift underway
me, I proudly pee sitting down
and bought my young son a skirt
because he likes playing dress up
and Lego Friends, not Star Wars

that’s ok with me
because it’s not about me
it’s about doing what’s most comfortable
for you

I hope this means
some of us are evolving

—William Skink

Chapel Hill


Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha
were executed by an atheist, Craig Hicks
in a Chapel Hill, North Carolina apartment
but atheists aren’t regularly depicted as terrorists
so there will be no calls for all atheists to denounce
this cowardly act by the inevitably labeled “lone wolf”
who, I am sure, we will later discover
has been diagnosed with some psychological malady
that will account for this callous act of hate
then we can shake our collective head
and go back to thinking about more important things
like how in the world could Beck beat Beyoncé
for best album of the year at the Grammy’s?

—William Skink

by William Skink

Missoula’s TEDx will be Friday, February 20th on campus. X = independently organized TED event. TED is an acronym for the ever expanding series of lectures that focus on Technology, Entertainment and Design.

This year’s lineup looks fun, if you’re into that kind of thing. Considering the theme is language, I checked to make sure there was a poet represented, and sure enough I saw they wisely selected Sheryl Noethe.

I’ll add my two cents here about language, specifically the fits and starts of developing writers. The move I recently made required dealing with a tremendous amount of crap. There were file cabinets long forgotten with all kinds of papers. We had lived in this house for over 13 years, and the secretions of my undergraduate work at UM had never been properly dealt with. So I sifted and tossed through the mounds, getting distracted in reading decade-old poems and journals.

Not much in those early years stands up to time. I mostly wince at what I wrote, hearing the clumsily appropriated styles of other writers.

Despite the wince factor, sometimes I’m reminded of the experimental flourishes that surprised me at the time, and still do all these years later. I wrote the following poem I think in 2005, and it still strikes me as strange in a way I don’t really get. For what it’s worth.



It was revealing you hating me so
I wondered if ever I might dance again
I searched in the aching woods
And found frightening proof of untidiness

O how thy star might revel free
If not for this crass plan, you wretch
Thy skin like a film over water
Is bereft of its target, so fetch

No, thy skin never knew these woods, love
And her eyes never saw thy mess
The too many places of your aim
Colored with thy Rosiest distress

But that star in your eyes, void of name
Acts like The Hunter’s claimed prize
The Kingdom hasn’t pillars of fame, love
Just trees in the shrinking wild

If love is a grub, you’re the woodpecker
While the stink in the air hovers close
And the leaf that is lung is so yellowing sad
That I cannot even mention The Rose

If only the scent of time paused
Thy grub might butterfly free
And you and your creature calm
Would leave the rest of us be

—William Skink

The Hill


on her way to the throne
she beheaded a snake
erupting with glee
when she heard on her phone
he was dead

they tried to stop her
opening back channels
but she moved with singular intent
to rip the heart
out of Tripoli

when she gets to the throne
O sisters and brothers
prepare yourselves

she ascends
on a ladder made of bones
to do the dark work
she auditioned for

—William Skink

True Detective


it doesn’t ripple for everyone
upon touch
the image looking back at itself

through a certain lens
True Detective
is just fiction
overlapping a body
pulled from the river
in a quiet college mountain town
not so quiet

under noses
papered over with disinterest
overdoses are just background noise
(though I’ve been told differently
by a juicer playing
some sort of angle)

through a certain lens
patterns emerge
dismissed as the product
of an unstable mind

patterns of kids gone missing
patterns of what power does
and gets away with

the memorial cross
beneath the bridge
no longer stands

I think it was burned
for warmth

—William Skink

by William Skink

This is the first of what I’m hoping will be a continuing series of Missoula-centric haikus. Enjoy!


long line, Five on Black
The Oxford makes me nervous
fine, Taco Del Sol


pay to see water
flow in the form of river
at Finn and Porter


despite the regret
despite what it does to you
Wendy’s, I love you


no more Food for Thought
omelets on the patio
and hungover cooks


they named it Faceclub?
why did they name it Faceclub?
what a silly name


outside the food truck
bros man-handle each other
red bull and vodka


Good Food Store is Holy!
blessed be what emanates
from its divine glow!


to puke on your shoe
is to be at the Food Farm
when you shouldn’t be


nice food at Top Hat?
a far cry from drugs and booze
on Wasted Wednesdays


plunk drunk with Plonk talk?
shame walk or junk in trunk honk?
how about zonk-hump?


Panera sunrise!
where is my Panera sun?
ah, Einstein Bros.



Syriza will you allow the wolves
to continue stalking the palisades?
they are hungry for more Athens blood
Syriza, will you stop them?
the wolves of Europe will not rest
the bear to the east extends its paw
Spain and Italy look on with hope
like dominoes they yearn to fall
Syriza watch your back tonight
a drachma in your pocket, for luck
the austerity plan to starve the land
keeps one foot in the grave

—William Skink



see the hawks fly in the air?
feathers dark, they scan for prey
but lo a creature with a gun
has designs to steal the day

this creature traveled from the east
pale-faced, he tricked and scammed
any who opposed his trek
to the northwest promised land

see the hawks rise above
almost uppity, some may say
how those beaks unloose those shrieks
all the while, he slowly aims

see the shot the Patriot took?
did the man take home the prize?
feathers flutter to the ground
falling through our warming skies

—William Skink

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