Cute Pictures of Dogs . by Lena Marvin

a digital impression of a stranger

stumbled upon via a link from an image, a sentiment I disagreed with

I try to make a point of not replying to political statementslenamarvin

made by strangers on the internet

this stranger

he isn’t crazy, he isn’t evil

but he doesn’t exist in the same plane of reality I do

his kindness

is not my kindness

his justice is not my justice

I’m not sure how to relate to all this hate

but seeing it reflected on a wall

an endless stream of politics

interrupted by fear

by hope

by cute pictures of dogs

he isn’t so different from me

but he is

he is completely different from me

he hopes for a world protected on all sides with bans and walls

by what I would call fascism

but what he calls logic

big government is evil, small government our only hope

but the government he backs seems to be growing ever bigger

odd the bits of shared understanding

the memes I agree with

the importance of social security, of authenticity, of argument with

logic, of kindness, even karma

shared understanding between us

he is human

I am human

he wants a better world

but the world he supports

is a terrifying place

but not to him

to me

I’m scared

where he perceives freedom

I perceive restriction

acts of bodily integrity equate to selfishness and murder to him

he denies a history of oppression, and a growing potential of

future of oppression

gun rights and walls, this is how we stop criminals he claims

I counter with abortions and a social safety net

we both view the other as an advocate for murder and violence

he says love your neighbors and quotes bible verse, he shares

memes that make fun of Madonna (whore, ugly, old)

all that made her worthwhile once is lost, yet not to me,

I am still amused

I find solace in a universe that has no god, a meaningless void

yet full of possibility, a rhythm that will continue

without humanity as it did before

I am the center of my own universe, as I recognize

the universe doesn’t care

he is one of god’s chosen, sure of his beliefs,

where I muddle about unsure

who is right? who is wrong?

how am I to know (it’s me my universe tells me with certainty)

how do I push forward in the face of such overwhelming hostility

such cute dog photos

the human element links us

we are one of the same

yet we cannot, will not condone one another

I feel the world has gone mad


Lena Marvin is a librarian at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She hails from Lawrence, Kansas and is only a poet in interesting times. She studied philosophy, library science and history in NYC. She’s a hacker and a geek who advocates for open source, encryption, cats, class struggle and board-gaming.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

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