It’s been twelve months since I cast my first vote
For president, and woke a sadder guy
The morrow morn. It’s been a year of note,
Mainly because the many reasons why
Shit happened are lethal to touch. No rote
Political response can quantify
The social pathogens that marinate,
Mutate, and spread within this wretched state.
A white man with a grievance and a gun
Has once more taken lives; bromides and prayers
Have been delivered; nothing will be done.
In days, another will stare through crosshairs
And murder more good men and women, one
Who wouldn’t hurt a fly. But then, who cares?
Let people kill themselves and think they’re free,
As long as I’m not in the mortuary.
Is the US a beacon anymore?
Do people really reason if they arm
Themselves that they can even out the score,
Or at the least protect themselves from harm?
It’s like we imagine marching off to war
Means fewer maimed and dead. I’ll bet the farm
That we’ll be dodging bullets in the street
Fired by Nazi addicts packing heat.
Meanwhile, the calls for doing something fade,
No policies are brought up for debate.
No money is allotted, while the frayed
And broken kinfolk desperately wait
For some sign that they haven’t been betrayed
Again. To lessen just a bit the rate
Of death, might Congress summon up the will
To pass even an unimportant bill?
It’s not as if we didn’t get how sick
And feverish we were the last eight years.
The self-congratulation and the shtick
Of the ’08 election—when the tears
Of everyone would dry (as if a quick
Volte-face could undercut systemic fears)—
Proved premature and arrogant: they rested
On smugness that had not been truly tested.
We get the politics that we deserve:
The folderol, the pettiness, the lies,
The stupid pieties, failures of nerve,
The grandstanding, the cutting down to size,
The obloquy, the donor-lobbies’ verve
In grabbing all they can, the faux surprise
At felonies and sleaze. One antidote?
Getting one’s fat ass off the couch to vote.
This month this obvious fact was proven true,
When Democrats came to the polls en masse.
Electors voted for contenders who
Rebuked the casual malice of a crass
And stupid vagabond, without a clue.
From every region, gender, shape, and class
They came: they even voted for (Hosanna!)
A black man to be mayor in Montana!
Of course, one should admit that these successes
Don’t demonstrate the Democratic Party
Is ready for primetime. No random guesses
Or fiendish cleverness of Moriarty
Are necessary to conclude that stresses
Of life with 45 led to the hearty
Rebuff of the GOP through the land.
That’s something Democrats must understand.
We’ve now learned that the bankrupt DNC
Was last year in hock to Clinton’s campaign,
Which shows how center-leftists fail to see
That power matters, yes, but the terrain
Of politics is broad, and each municipality
Offers the chance for candidates to gain
Proficiency and skills, and put a dent
In the great power of the president.
Yet, when I hope the net is closing in,
The sands of time are (at last) running out—
That Deep Throat’s gargled, and will soon begin
To tell us where the money is; that Doubt
Has sunk her claws into his orange skin
And scrapes away his ego’s mildewed grout
That keeps the rot concealed—we let him find
Another way to stupefy the mind.
I watched last month as that milquetoast Jeff Flake
Denounced the president. The Arizonan
Hardly caused any senators to shake
In their expensive, tasseled shoes; no Conan
Was he, cutting a swathe; more a cupcake
Than poisoned pill deliverer. To phone in
A quasi-resignation counts as mettle
Only when you have really grasped the nettle.
Since then a pallid cavalcade of geezers
Have said they’ve had enough. Their worried spouses
Have sternly called back home these would-be Caesars
To sit on boards and eat lunch at clubhouses,
Rather than be the febrile buttock-squeezers
Who guide their fingers up their interns’ blouses,
And, leaning closer, give themselves permission
To press on them the size of their ambition.
In Hollywood, each day a smart white guy—
A self-defined tastemaker and cool dude,
Who knows when to zip or upzip his fly,
Is learning that he also can be screwed
Without a chance to ask the question Why?
His l’etat-c’est-moi, preening attitude,
Has been seen through: he’s not a streaking comet,
Just someone who makes all who meet him vomit.
I wish I understood the mad belief
That it would be sage (even as a prank)
Or just good-natured fun (or a relief)
To take your plonker out and blithely wank
In front of other folks. Is such a brief
And sordid, desultory thrill—to spank
The monkey and hasten your ruination—
Worth fifteen seconds of ejaculation?
Like most men I possess an average willy,
It does what it’s required to do (per norm).
But waving it about in public’s silly—
Do these men really envisage a swarm
Of people competing to pop their chili
Into their mouths and gobble up the warm
And fragrant juices? It could be my stupidity,
But this ain’t courtship, it’s insane cupidity.
Who thinks a fourteen-year-old is fair game
No matter whether they’re a girl or boy?
When I was that age, I could barely frame
What gay or straight meant, what desire or joy
My body might respond to, or what name
It could be given. Therefore to destroy
A fragile sense of self, use as a tool,
And exercise one’s power, seems too cruel.
These men appear to assume that every room
Awaits with bated breath their entry to it;
That without them the flowers will not bloom;
No plan is worthy for they have seen through it;
That everything’s around them to consume,
And nothing valuable unless they do it.
No one can sate the vastness of their greed
Or fathom the presumptions of their need.
I’ve also felt the urgency of lust,
How it can shut out logic and self-checks.
But I’m not one who wonders when his bust
Will sit within the Pantheon; or expects
Women to faint with glee (or be concussed)
At just the thought of engaging in sex
With me; or feels a woman’s secret garden
Moistens at the mere notion I’ve a hard-on.
Of course, it’s all an exercise in power
A chance to show who’s tops, who’s grabbed the rings
(And breasts and crotches): the man of the hour.
The monstrous genius who’s walked with kings,
His insights fall like petals in a bower
Upon his grateful acolytes: what things
He promises! What wit, what style, what grace!
Who cares he told you to sit on his face?
Now, I received the sort of education
That made it clear to me that when I spoke
A reverent hush would fall upon the nation
And what I said would (usually at a stroke)
Calm crises and souls. The ensuing ovation
(Long and inherently deserved) would stoke
The embers of the coldest hearts. And as for me:
I’d smile and nod with polished modesty.
So in the panicked, half-assed, bland confessions
It’s easy for me to see calculation:
Of how the consequences of transgressions
Might be considered; how a declaration
Of sorrow and regret and promised sessions
Of treatment might forestall more allegations;
With the result, after an apt duration,
Tearful, remorseful rehabilitation.
Of course, the bully-in-chief, Big Kahuna,
The loudest pussy-grabber of them all
Sits in the Oval Office (O Fortuna!):
Letting his vulgar, clammy fingers crawl
Into the Constitution’s each lacuna.
Probing for weakness, grubby hands now maul
Each tuck and fold of Liberty’s green shroud
To prove how generously he’s endowed.
And yet it matters not—not yet at least—
To those who voted for him. They’ve now moved
Beyond his promises and plans; have ceased
To hope their lives will ever be improved
By anyone. Instead, each day they feast
Upon his diatribes; the primal, grooved,
Well-trodden lines of grievance and indictment:
One half is entertainment, half excitement.
Because of that, I wonder if he’ll bore them;
They’ll tire of the claptrap, turn the channel
To other pastimes that they see before them.
In desperation, will he duck and flannel,
Cajole or flatter, whine, moan, or ignore them,
Calling them out as losers as they impanel
A jury to impeach him for his crimes:
The very best and very worst of times?
Bob Mueller has moved in on Manafort,
The sleazy, self-enriching, wheeler-dealer.
We sense they’ve got a strong case, of the sort
That turns a wiseacre into a squealer,
Especially if he’s induced to short
More serious charges by sending a feeler
Or two out that might fulfill Mueller’s wishes
By pointing him to much, much larger fishes.
They got a guilty plea from Papadopoulos
Some weeks ago. It’s likely that he’s worn
A wire for rendezvous in the metropolis,
In hotel suites and back rooms, and has sworn
To spill. Not since Pericles on the Acropolis
Poured forth upon Cimon his righteous scorn,
Have citizens felt their dispositions hearten:
Perhaps Mueller will ostracize the Spartan!
Talking of which, he’s found a new occasion
To talk up Russia, Putin, and defame
Americans in government. The evasion
About his business dealings, and his blame
For fake news on the media make persuasion
Much easier that there’s a hidden shame
Within the Russian story. And I feel
We’ve not heard the last of Christopher Steele.
The Steele dossier is the spy’s report
That colored de Sade’s views in Canto 4;
Of girls, stained sheets, and dodgy deals, the sort
Of stories that were derided as folklore,
Just oppo propaganda. Manafort
And other witnesses may underscore
How much of Steele’s drip-drip revelation
Checks out, and where next goes the investigation.
Steele may lay bare another stupid fecker
Who let John Thomas piss away his brain;
Who had to prove he had the longest pecker,
And thus poured his career down the drain.
Along the way, he’ll do his best to wreck a
Home, child, administration, and campaign,
Because he had to show that, though a prick,
He was, and will remain, the biggest dick.
The danger is that he’ll collapse the state
Before they get him to resign: call out
His base to march on DC; throw his weight
Behind Steve Bannon’s talk of coups, and flout
All laws and customs; publically berate
Those who “destroyed” him; and cast doubt
On our institutions. In this way,
Vladimir Vladimirovich will hold sway.