“The Whirlwind’s Beauty Mark” © Bill Wolak


Village Idiot

When the hurricane made landfall
in 2016
it became clear
gentrifying residents never
heeded warnings to vacate
or even prepare
for its destructive nature

Through blowhard gusts
everyone heard
“grab them by the pussy”
rather than
“I am you without your mask”

A coastal resident unwilling
to prepare for a fight
or even acknowledge
hurricanes are not born
from immaculate conception
stands in gale force winds
screaming at the hurricane
wondering why their words
are lost to noise

“Why,” the coastal resident thinks
“is this hurricane not stopping?”
while spray painting Fuck Trump
on plastic bottles and jumping back
into their car to drive across the street

A “very happy young girl”
shakes her head, points to her future
dragging behind the coastal resident
like roadkill
and says “How dare you”

“You claim to do something
by yelling at the wind
ignoring the causes
ignoring the shit on your shoes
ignoring the mask you take off
when it suits your needs
ignoring your children’s cries
because you’ll be dead
before we wipe our first tears”


Rene Mullen is managing editor for a PR firm in Albuquerque, a performance and traditional poet, and a mental health advocate. He is also one of two 2018 Albuquerque Slam Champions and member of three slam teams that have been on multiple regional and national stages. His poetry has been featured in Poetry Quarterly, 50 Haikus, and Stronger Than Stigma: Poetry from the 2019 Mindwell Poetry Slam Team.

Bill Wolak has just published his fifteenth book of poetry entitled The Nakedness Defense with Ekstasis Editions. His collages have appeared as cover art for such magazines as Phoebe, Harbinger Asylum, Baldhip Magazine, Barfly Poetry Magazine, Pithead Chapel, Thirteen Ways Magazine, Phantom Kangaroo, and Flare Magazine.