Rich Murphy

Chestnut Frame

“It’s the tree of life,” Yossarian answered, waggling his toes, “and of knowledge of good and evil, too.”
Milo squinted closely at the bark and branches. “No it isn’t,” he replied. “It’s a chestnut tree. I ought to know. I sell chestnuts.”
“Have it your way.”

– Joseph Heller

Political scientists hung up lab coats and quit the experiment in the 1930s when the Founding Fathers Foundation fell into a great depression. Pitchforks made hay around federal government buildings and resurrected a body that stood between the money makers and the money spenders. Business men then went to work to define states, without unions, as united or at least possessed by a quiet desperation that the Soviet Union couldn’t hide. The executive definitions may be why “[t]hree like terrifying political murders have cast, as Adam sighed, no shadow on the Whites’ House.”

When communism disappeared into the sunset in 1990, democracy followed, not in suit but in overalls, and the oligarchs who owned the work ethic exiled the precariat worker under foot. Without representation, the refugees were permitted to become caddies because harbingers of bad news could hold the billionaire’s change, so as to envy and recognize that the poor are always embarrassed tycoons.

Rich Murphy's poetry collections have won two national book awards: Gival Press Poetry Prize 2008 for Voyeur and in 2013 the Press Americana Poetry Prize for Americana. Asylum Seeker, the third in a trilogy (January 2018) focuses on globalizing Western / American culture. The piece above leads off the manuscript. The first collection in the trilogy was Americana and Body Politic, the second, was published by Prolific Press in January 2017. Murphy’s first book The Apple in the Monkey Tree was published in 2007 by Codhill Press. Chapbooks include Great Grandfather (Pudding House Press), Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox) and Paideia (Aldrich Press).
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