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poetry False Flag

After nights of fire and looting, the poet Jed Myers asks in “False Flag” the simple question: who is shifting the blame to whom?

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False Flag

By Jed Myers

The nobles and all

their hires and orderlies

can always

be moved to call

for a crackdown

Oh, this is old

and readily aimed

done unto Christians

Communists Jews



of slaves

even among close

kin the method is


          [didn’t my

brother and I

finger each other

before the scowling

emperor Mom]

The German parliament



Communists blamed

[Berlin’s fire chief

found evidence

it was the Nazis

He wound up strangled]

and Hitler got Hindenberg

to suspend civil


            Oh, this is old

and so alive

on the streets tonight

And in fourth-century


secret servants

set the palace ablaze

the Christians blamed

So old and alive

as the blinding fusion

of fire and mind

and so easily


transmitted across

the sky

              a good hundred

million viable

sparks of blame


A car’s torched

and the arson assigned

to the darkened faces

of the amassed


                  [or was it

a hooded pale servant

of some other cause]


false flag

it is called

It’s alive

and it works

too well

Jed Myers is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press), and four chapbooks. Recent poems appear in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, The American Journal of Poetry, Tinderbox, Ruminate, and elsewhere. He lives in Seattle and edits poetry for Bracken.