Issue 208, Spring 2014
Snow is falling on Broadway
Through weeping willows of fog.
I know that my Redeemer liveth
And that there is life on Mars.
This is the State of the Union,
December, twenty thirteen.
Lincoln spoke briefly at Gettysburg earlier this afternoon.
He sat back down so quickly.
Such eloquent restraint, it was almost insolent.
Almost before you saw that he’d got up to speak.
It made me think of Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday,
Beautifully walking out of the Robben Island prison, free.
Such is the power of simplicity.
Such was the power of Robert Kennedy.
Nothing talks power prouder
Than the silence which is louder,
Nothing, unless it’s this eloquent restraint.
These men I name were magnanimous and magnificent.
I’m talking about the ability to dominate by not.
Power that sleeps on the floor or on a cot.
Politicians pontificate and strut and plot.
Power that isn’t sexual or military.
Power that isn’t scary,
Or isn’t very.
Contrariwise, nothing talks power prouder
Than a loudmouth nascar stock car
Touching fenders at two hundred miles an hour
With a howling pack of four-wheel Tea Partyers
Blasting around the redneck track at Charlotte,
Nothing, unless it’s that gaudy harlot, that patriot,
The junior senator from Texas, Mr. Cruz,
Smiling his ghastly Joe McCarthy smarm,
With a broken-open shotgun
Draped over the crook of his arm—
Out with friends shooting pheasant and moderate Republicans.
Congress is singing the Cruz blues. Here’s how it goes:
The Tea Party made Liberty
Stand naked on a ladder
So they could look up at her
Emptying her bladder.
Republicans in the House
Opened their mouths under the stream. End of song.
So this time maybe the Democrats have won. So
The Tea Party is a rat being digested by a mouse.
I don’t know who you are
Except you always go too far.
I’m open to the not preposterous suggestion that
Nowadays Liberty is hazmat.
What do you really think?
I won’t say.
What are you willing to say?
I’ll have to think. Affordable Care Act,
Put on your hazmat suit, come on get happy,
You better chase all your cares away.
Whenever I get too happy, at least I know the feds
In Washington, D.C., at least the department heads,
Are there to protect my constitutional right
To split infinitives and to utterly despair,
Schlumping around my apartment at noon still in my underwear,
Trying, on my computer, to sign on to Obamacare.
How luscious is this day today? It is.
And what a precious day today. It was.
Each spoke turns the wheel one spoke closer,
Rotating like a brain
Going down the drain
And starting to forget and the sun begins to set.