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poetry Under Subpoena

Minneapolis poet/lawyer Michel Steven Krug captures the uneasy mood of these political times, the degradation of democracy, its vulnerability.

Under Subpoena

By Michel Steven Krug


Exiting the house select

Committee revolving doors

The Sergeant at Arms has eyes

For each witness under subpoena


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Not ready to defy the privileges of

A defeated Executive whose policies foreign

And domestic are personal, useful,

Promoted to deceive,


American idolatry

Useful sabotage propagated

By the nouveau KGB

Useful USA, for re-re-election

US Useful idiots

To serve a majesty.


Servile to posted democracy,

Offering truths of the click bait asserted.

Espionage at law when

In defiance of domestic channels

And congressional oversight

His majesty’s attorney general

Exacted deals to debase his rival

By erasure with stabbed glass

That avenges

Opaque defeat.


We are informed by heavy flag poles.

We are all under subpoena,

Freedom of disinformation

Overwhelms veracity,

Its volume too temperate

Its tone too coherent

Its fidelity too rigid, too conventional

For an era that discounts reason.



Democracy has not been so degraded

That its franchise is mere debris.

The corrosion has been a cruel aberration

An arc necessary to sober

Cynicism and incredulity.

Exquisitely appalling, helium packaged,

Like ice melts in the spring,

Exposing all of its menacing emptiness.

Michael Steven Krug is a Minneapolis poet, fiction writer, former print journalist from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. He’s Managing Editor for Poets Reading the News (PRTN) literary magazine and he litigates. His poems have appeared in New Verse News, JMWW, Cagibi, Silver Blade, Crack the Spine, Dash, Mikrokosmos, North Dakota Quarterly, Eclectica, Writers Resist, Sheepshead, Mizmor Anthology, 2019, PRTN, Ginosko, Door Is A Jar, Raven's Perch, Main Street Rag and Brooklyn Review with poems forthcoming in other journals.