Just a Test?

Just a Test?

By Rick Blum


Rennh rennh rennh rudely interrupted Nora Jones,
causing my stomach to clench like a sprung trap –
something that hadn’t happened since Susan Soloway
and I were sent to her basement while a siren blared
at the fire station a few miles from our otherwise
tranquil neighborhood. [This was the late fifties,
when everyone worried that the Russians would lob
a few nuclear bombs our way. Air-raid tests
like this one were considered prudent then,
as was building home bomb shelters and equipping them
with a few months’ supplies, despite the fact that
radioactive air would filter in in short order anyhow.]

After an interminable moment of excruciating silence,
This was a test of the emergency broadcast system
washed across the room like a tsunami on steroids,
allowing me to breathe again. This is how
a loose-lipped president, dripping with false bravado,
can terrorize his own citizenry: by threatening
total destruction of a small country on the other side
of the globe. Ronald Reagan, who set the Republican Party
on the path to its current state of deviancy, proclaimed:
“government is not the solution to our problem;
government is the problem.” He was almost right.
Turns out, a president is not the solution to our problem,
but surely can be the problem. Hugely!

So, in faraway North Korea, President Fire-and-Fury
thinks he can bend Kim Jong-un to his will as easily as
he sues construction contractors into submission.
I hope he’s right, though chances of that panning out
are slimmer than a runway model. More likely
he’ll ratchet up the bluster until the supreme leader
launches us into that fifties nightmare, or a majority
of the cabinet decides our national delirium must end,
and removes Trump from office.

In the meantime, in case I need to make a dash
for the safety – and sanity – of Canada,
I’m keeping the van gassed-up …
and abundantly stocked with tubs of Tums.


Rick Blum has been chronicling life’s vagaries through essays and poetry for more than 25 years. His early works were published in several, now defunct, national magazines, whose fate he takes no credit for. He was a regular columnist for eleven years for the newsweekly The Mosquito, which, surprisingly, is still in print. More recently, his writings have appeared in The Literary Hatchet, The Satirist, and The Moon Magazine, among others. He is also a frequent contributor to the Humor Times, and has been published in numerous poetry anthologies. Mr. Blum is a two-time winner of the annual Carlisle Poetry Contest. His poem, Tomfoolery, received honorable mention in The Boston Globe Deflategate poetry challenge. Currently, he is holed up in his Massachusetts office trying to pen the perfect bio, which he plans to share as soon as he stops laughing at the sheer futility of this effort.

Photo credit: Cliff Dix via a Creative Commons license.

By | 2018-02-07T09:56:15+00:00 February 8th, 2018|Categories: Issue 55: 08 Feb 2918|Tags: , |0 Comments

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