Two Poems by Sam Preminger


Someone is trying out shiny soldier’s boots 
right now –
                                   right now.
And don’t they look excellent? Reflecting 
the stern jaw staring down,
un-scuffed. Without music, men
set out to pain the night.
There’s an allowance, always,
for what fits tightly: the starched-white, 
fresh-pressed, machine-stitched
lettering, like ice. Someone is sleeping
outside. Someone's slouched in the cold
milky light which spills from corner stores.
The corner stores kept vacant,
heated, aglow.
Fourteen miles away,
Hasel’s house is vandalized.
Seven bullets sit at the top of a cross.

Is there any good way left to live this life?
*italicized lines from ‘Last Waltz in Santiago’ by Ariel Dorfman, as translated by Edith Grossman

Regulations for Demonstration

“Violence is not, and has never been, a legitimate means to a political end.”
– Ted Wheeler
One grandmother gives out sandwiches 
before the riot starts.
Behind this line we call her
boys: boot-
licker, call fuck ‘em, fuck it, humans 
are too human. Sometimes
hateful. Impatient. A fractured
skull. A flagpole. Poll:
Do you prefer a confiscation of shields?
A cowardice of comfort?
Red eyes? Red hands? Red hours when,
with all this red, it’s hard to see anything at all.
The sun shatters itself
on the shelf of horizon.
Stars shutter their doors, afraid of the dark.
We fight metaphorically,
then physically, with bodies, again. Again:
say love wins.
Oh love, see the marching band march. 
See now how that marching band runs.

Sam Preminger is a trans-nonbinary, Jewish writer and publisher. Having completed an MFA at Pacific University, they now serve as the Editor-in-Chief of NAILED Magazine. You can find their poetry in Narrative, Split Lip, Event Horizon, and Yes Poetry, among other publications. They live in Portland, OR, along with their partner and stepcat. Learn more at