Susana H. Case

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Iraqi Men

I need to explain about the jacket,
how the overnight bus from Istanbul Artwork by Gene McCormick
is full up—Iraqi men on their way
to the brothels of Sofia, no one speaking to us,
staring, staring at the only two women,
my friend convinced I’m a communist when
I insisted on a trip to Bulgaria.
She sleeps, Quaaluded, in the air-
conditioned freeze of the newly-divorced.
Midnight, the driver brakes
on a shoulder of the highway,
strides the aisle to where we’re seated,
halfway back, strips off his leather jacket
as he looms over us, a moraine of a man.
The northwest trip is going south, I think,
too many men and no one here to help us
if/when things turn bad,
but then he lays his jacket
over me, gently tucks me in before
returning to the wheel and everyone
breaks out his sweets: chewy pale planks
of sesame candy, sugared gummy pinks
and whites, Turkish Delight.
We’ve got a box of them to exchange,
as do many of the men, wordless,
but smiling now, sharing treats all the way
to the border, all the way to puzzling women
in another city, my only thoughts about
Iraqi men until the almost-spring when
my country drops bombs on them.


Earrings Before the Breakup of the Soviet Union

The hooker at the bar of the Moscow hotel
where Lenin once lived and refined
his speeches regarding the fruits of revolution
asks for my brass-colored,
beaded earrings, calls them, in client-
acquired English, perfect
for attracting business but hard to find.
Down the street at Red Square
in GUM, the State Department Store
(I’d browsed that afternoon)—
how gloomy the displays, more space
than product. Communism
through consumerism hasn’t worked yet.

She needs the long gypsy-dangling type,
the ones that wink and say: hey—


Susana H. Case is a Professor and Program Coordinator at the New York Institute of Technology. She is the author of: Salem In Séance (WordTech Editions), Elvis Presley’s Hips & Mick Jagger’s Lips (Anaphora Literary Press) and 4 Rms w Vu (Mayapple Press, forthcoming in 2014). Please visit her online at: