Nothing has changed. Somewhere
to the right of the living
they still mistake independence
for a virtue, a defensive
indifference, an Eden
of last resort, and now
that the War of 8:15
has broken out in the terminal
we can see dreamcatcher earrings
for what they are: dangerous excess.
All the while, vehicles
sleeker than English
are passing us by, and low wages
are weighing the sins of commerce.
Nothing summons our homeless
like homecoming, its promises
of poor judgement and altruistic display,
so we go on, dull our dystopian luster
with schools of choice, and elect
another one-man humanitarian
disaster, a dollar-scented dollar
for everyone crying their way up
the Grayhound steps or thumbing
a well-loved copy of The Joy
of Looting
. Nothing has changed.
Talking sane to crazy
will still make you crazy
before it makes them sane.

Benjamin Paloff is the author of two poetry collections–And His Orchestra (2015) and The Politics (2011), both from Carnegie Mellon–and of a critical volume, Lost in the Shadow of the Word: Space, Time, and Freedom in Interwar Eastern Europe (Northwestern, 2016). His poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, A Public Space, The New Republic, and elsewhere, and his many translations from Polish, Czech, Russian, and Yiddish include, most recently, Bozena Keff’s On Mother and Fatherland (MadHat, 2017) and Richard Weiner’s The Game for Real (Two Lines, 2015). Twice a fellow of the NEA–in poetry as well as translation–he teaches at the University of Michigan.