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Two Poems
by Craig Awmiller

The Great Actor Closes His Eyes

He lies his head down high in the hills and

The sun falls over the Pacific.

The Western Hemisphere goes black.

His dreams are filled with all sorts of mayhem.

Someone is ignored.

Someone is shot.

Someone files a grievance.

A dog barks.

His agent does not return his calls.

A sexy blonde drinks beer on a tarpaper rooftop.

A monkey gives him a few coins.

The sexy blond and the monkey shoot dice.

And so on.

In the morning

He opens his eyes

And the world, nodding, assembles itself to his liking.

The Backward Star

or one without a rudder.

Pilgrims who never arrive
walk across a field.

They stand about, gossip, and smoke.

In clouds of white breath
they talk about how little is left
of the walls that stand in the place of walls that have disappeared.

Made comfortable by jokes and anxious by prayers
they say: this ground is just a field,
just a field between two trees
with a lowly house nearby.

No flaming star tumbled to earth here.

A local lunatic appears and, scratching himself, says:
they were shoved one by one into this sky.
And this invisible river, he says, pointing, received ashes, one by one, and flowed easily on.
And the lunatic-
a man in a big coat walking beneath the high, pale, constellations-
puts his ear to the mud and says: permit me to kneel down
and permit me to put my ear to the mud and permit me to listen to the dirt when it says:
Anno: in the name of the backward star.
Domine: in the name of the star that does not appear.
Anno: in the name of the dog's name that I forgot.
Domine: according to jokes that make laugh out loud.
Anno: and according to my stupidity.
Domine: speaking through a wall, saying:
let me see, let me know, at last,
or else kill me so that I may never again play at children's games.

About the author:
With Deborah Dorfman and Armand Vardanyan, M.D., Craig Awmiller is one of the authors of the report "Mental Health Law of the Kyrgyz Republic and its Implementation" which is available in English and Russian at the Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC) website:

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