The Trumpiad: Book the Third

The third volume of The Trumpiad (Book the Third) is ongoing. Book the Second (for the year 2018) is available for purchase as a printed book, an ebook, and audiobook. This volume, which covers January to December 2018, delves more deeply into the personalities that live in or contributed to the swamp: Melania, Kim Jong-un, Robert Mueller, Stormy Daniels, Vladimir Putin, and others.If you need to a refresher course to what happened in 2017, Book the First is also available as a printed book, an ebook, and an audiobook. As with Book the First, proceeds after costs of Book the Second will be split between Vine, a farmed animal sanctuary in Vermont, and New Alternatives NYC, an organization that helps transgendered homeless youth in New York City. If you don’t wish to purchase either volumes, you can read the entire set of twelve cantos for Book the Second on this page and for Book the First on this page.

Canto I: January 2019
Canto II: February 2019
Canto III: March 2019
Canto IV: April 2019
Canto V: May 2019
Canto VI: June 2019
Canto VII: July 2019
Canto VIII: August 2019
Canto IX: September 2019
Canto X: October 2019
Canto XI: November 2019
Canto XII: December 2019

Canto I: January 2019

I

The same old news curses 2019,
A shutdown’s furloughed workers without pay.
Congress is deadlocked, he recycles spleen,
And Brexit grows more likely by the day.
I fantasize we’ll soon bask in the sheen
Of sunnier times. Until then, a display
Commends itself to my imagination:
Another farce of misrepresentation.

II

The mise-en-scène is at a country house
In 1912, before it fell apart:
Long driveways, open lawns, the flap of grouse
Escaping from the guns. Let music start:
A genteel orchestra, some Johann Strauss.
The skipping beat matching the beating heart,
As by themselves or coupled up, each actor
Performs their role: hero or malefactor.

III

Outside, the shadows of midsummer dusk,
Murmuring echoes of an old romance;
A silken glove across a cheek, the brusque
Riposte to slighted rectitude; a glance;
A hand wiping a beaded brow—the husk
Of power lost to destiny and chance;
The flash of fireflies, like motes of dust
Caught briefly in the warm zephyrs of lust.

IV

By the gazebo, thwarted lovers kiss.
Their fingers intertwine; their words are brief.
Too much opposes them: this transient bliss
A prelude to a life with no relief.
Propriety and property make this,
This fragmentary joy, exquisite grief.
From now on they will count the hours to death,
For though they breathe, they draw their final breath.

V

The twilight hides a melancholy man,
Whose hurt, scarred soul his guardedness outlives.
His boyish passion is long cooled; the span
Of time has curdled faith. Yet he forgives
The innocent their ardor; for age can,
He knows, distill the essential self, and sieves
The kernel from the chaff. To be awake
Demands that you all passion must forsake.

VI

The exiled mourn and pray for retribution;
Their retinue sings songs of winter rain;
The jester mocks the wish for restitution,
And hopes that wit can compensate for pain.
The honest yeomen may lack elocution
Yet these retainers will be housed again.
And thus the whirligig of time brings round
The pastoral of loss and marriage found.

VII

Meanwhile, the old magician breaks his staff,
Believing that enchantment’s gone to pot.
Technique’s usurped amazement, telegraph
And telephone destroyed what he had wrought.
His charms and spells foretold their epitaph
When he believed they’d never be forgot.
He conjured worlds but, at the very end,
Nostalgia proved to be his only friend.

VIII

Within the banquet hall, champagne on ice,
The tintinnabulation of rich laughter,
The transient flare of fading paradise;
The shimmering gowns and tapered necks that draught a
Perfume of money and the sacrifice
Required to relentlessly chase after
The effortless disdain of true nobility:
Its sprezzatura, ennui, and fragility.

IX

A short announcement, chairs are re-arranged;
The floor is cleared, the band packs up and goes;
The canapés and demitasses exchanged
For port and cigarillos. Any woes
That scour the soul, or however estranged
The socialites may be, are mere sideshows.
The King and Queen have come. The piece will start.
The royal couple speak a while apart.

X

Hippolyta, my love, whose noble mien
Once stilled the puissant breast of Hercules:
Leader of women, fearless warrior queen,
Prepared for us are new festivities.
Now is the moment when we change the scene
From matters of the state to revelries.
Unburden reservations and let fly
Thy discontent, as spirits soar on high.

XI

“Sit next to me, Hippolyta, I fain
Would have thy company, while we enjoy
This fellow, monstrous strange, who doth complain
Most violently about a curious toy
(For that is what it seems fevers his brain).
It is a wonder that, like a schoolboy,
This rude mechanical should strut and bawl
About what seemeth nothing ’cept a wall.”

XII

“Husband-to-be, it was bruited abroad
That such a one exists. You say ’tis true:
Yet scarce can I believe it. Is’t not odd,
O Theseus, that such a one should hew
So closely to his theme? Is Reason flawed?
Hath Moderation, which restraineth rue,
Suffered a usurpation, and is Choler
Enthronèd to harangue and sulk and holler?”

XIII

“Hippolyta, I know not if he feign
This mood or is possessed. But it is said,
That of a night he howls as if in pain.
‘O Wall,’ he yells, ‘I would rather be dead
Than not complete thee.’ In this fearful strain
He rents the silence of the House. ‘To bed,
My lord,’ his wife doth simper; yet he sobs,
Screaming of spectral mobs and phantom jobs.”

XIV

“But soft: he comes! O let my heart not fail
At such a fearsome sight! For like a lion
He doth reverberate and thrash his tail,
And toss his shaggy mane. Even Orion,
That mighty hunter, dare not hope prevail
’Gainst such a beast (truly Nemea’s scion)
If by his thunder thou wouldst judge his force:
I mean to say the opposite, of course!”

XV

“’Tis the most piteous sight I’ve seen thus far:
For he who’d be a lion is an ass;
And when he thinks he’d cause the rough Tartar
To affright, or rugged Moor to water pass,
Or fire-breathing Musselman or Tsar
To flee to yonder hills or crack like glass,
He merely his defectiveness displays:
For where he thinketh that he roars, he brays.

XVI

“For in his sad delusion he doth shake
A mane that verily is a thin spool
Of aureate tincture: King Midas wouldst quake
At such as he; and e’en Narcissus’ pool
Couldst not reflect such pride: a grave mistake!
For that glisters is not gold. This fool
Conceives that the apparel of a king
Confirmeth that he is the real thing.”

XVII

“Too true, i’faith: And yet—O sight supreme:
Hath ever such a creature worn such ears,
Except as it might be within a dream?
They should hark to the music of the spheres
So sizeable are they. Ne’erless, they seem
Only responsive to deluded cheers.
The facts do leave his senses dulled and sore:
When sooths are told, his falsehoods soothe him more.”

XVIII

“Quiet, he speaks.” “O Wall, O mighty Wall,
You are the best, believe me; I should know,
I’ve built a few—and you’re the best of all.
So potent and so beautiful, you show
That you’re the tops because you are so tall,
And thicker than a plank of wood. Although
I shouldn’t boast, though I would bet Beijing
Has never built a bigger, better thing.

XIX

“O Wall, O lovely Wall, whose mighty flanks,
Rise up to pierce the membrane of the sky.
Your rigid, concrete sections sunk in banks
Of tender yielding soil strongly belie
That I am weak. To you, I proffer thanks:
For your erection will exemplify
The dominance of my ascendency
And thus reflect most pleasingly on me.”

XX

“Methinks the gentleman protests too much,
My Theseus, or thusly compensates
For some perceived inadequacy or such
That troubleth him. For, by my troth, he weights
This wall more as one would a woman’s touch
Upon a man, and therefore demonstrates
He knoweth not what of he speaks, for we
Demand respect, not mere carnality.”

XXI

“I know whereof you speak, my lady, thou,
An Amazon, art martial in the ways
Of war, as love. Thy stern-eyed stare and brow
Didst slay my heart, and though to my dispraise
Thou wert a gift from Hercules, I trow
Thy kindly visage indicates thy gaze
Hath softened from that righteous contempt
With which no man should ever be exempt.”

XXII

“Beware complacency, good sir, for love
Is not a thing bestowed but held on loan.
The iron fist within a velvet glove
Shapes tenderness, tests what is poorly sewn.
The couples’ minuet, the pull and shove,
Demands a balanced step lest we be prone
To stumble, without proper give and take.
Oh, peace: the creature doth more heehaws make.”

XXIII

“My little hands will stroke your bricks and mortar,
Nostrils inhale the scent of wet cement;
I’ll bury in the joints a spoil-sporter
Who thought they could persuade me to relent.
I’ll make sure every Democrat supporter
Will pay for every panel: each red cent
They cough up will confirm that I’m the boss,
You’d have to be a dupe to double-cross.

XXIV

“O Wall, how long have I waited to see
You symbolize my straddling of the land:
A barrier that will stop the refugee
And migrant, to whom we won’t lend a hand.
In the flat blankness of your masonry
You shutter and preclude, rebuff and strand.
As long as I can stare at you all day
I can pretend my woes are far away.

XXV

“No chink must be allowed, nothing neglected—
Nothing that carries plague or infestation.
No hint of germs or any of the infected
Should set one toe within this spotless nation.
Block off the entrances that are connected
To the other side. Thwart everyone suspected
Of being out to get me is the call.
And that is why you must protect me, Wall.”

XXVI

“Hippolyta, I think I hast divined
What doth perturb this persecuted yokel.
This edifice that occupies his mind
Is his buttress against chaos, a focal
Point, metaphor, and figure. ’Tis a kind
Of base protection that shores up his local
Support but undermines the place of reason,
O’erthrows his sense, and turns it into treason.”

XXVII

“How can it be, O Theseus, that the seat
Of government is thusly held for ransom?
Is’t nothing but an old man’s reckless snit,
Or petulance because he isn’t handsome?
Are not such gestures proof he isn’t fit,
And shouldn’t his kinfolk or allies plan some
Immediate intervention, lest in twain
He cleft the state, not to be whole again?”

XXVIII

“These times, indeed, are cause of consternation.
For how the wounded lion roars: his beef
At disappearing muscle, and frustration—
To him this forms the bedrock of belief
That his way is the best! This lamentation
To us is sound and fury, a motif
That runs through every era’s tune this truth:
That age rages against the hope of youth.

XXIX

“For this is now no country for old men,
And still the agéd won’t give up their claim.
That generation still remembers when
It pointed fingers at, assigned the blame
For what was wrong to, others. That was then,
And now they find that they are just the same
As the corrupted who once led the masses:
They were the lions; now they are the asses.

XXX

“They thunder, ‘Build the wall. Let time stand still.
Pull up the drawbridge and hold back the tide.
Retreat into the bunker with your will,
Ensure thou art sufficiently supplied.
The end is nigh, the bells hath rung, the bill
Is due, and—lo!—the enemy’s outside.’
To us, these are the rants of the insane,
Yet Birnam wood must come to Dunsinane.”

XXXI

So, Theseus. The King and Queen arise,
The howling man is ushered from the court.
The guests depart under the darkening skies,
Uneasiness has undermined their sport:
No happy ending or wondrous surprise,
Or tragic resolution to report.
Extinguished is the mansion of all light,
And curtains fall on that midsummer night.

Canto II: February 2019

I

Meanwhile, in Blighty, land of hope and glory,
Traditions, parties, institutions crumble.
The sausage-making has become more gory
Than even Bismarck could have dreamed of: tumbrel
And snare drum punctuate the age-old story
(Much clung to in the breach) that Brits may stumble,
But decency and honor will not fail:
It may be a close thing, but we’ll prevail.

II

Yet here we are, a matter of a few weeks
Away from Brexit, and a more vile mess
You can’t imagine: every aspect reeks,
Infects, and sullies. In the gutter press
The editorialists part their arse cheeks
And dump their foul intestinal excess
Into the upturned mouths of those who read
To fill themselves with crap, not what they need.

III

Amidst Love Island’s bronzed and vapid dreamers,
X Factor wannabes, the WAGs, and fools
Who populate the tabloids, are schemers
Who call Remainers “sell-outs,” “traitors,” “tools
Of Brussels.” These, the patriotic screamers
Believe the English God and public schools,
Will, freed from Europe’s heavy-handed yoke,
Regain its former glory—what a joke!

IV

There’s Boris Johnson, clownish upper-cruster,
His rumpled suits and blond tresses askew:
He likes to imagine he’s a man you’d trust: a
Defiant, manqué Churchill, a true blue,
One Nation Tory, smug and full of bluster.
His deviousness and ineptness few
Would question. Yet, both lazy and affected,
He nonetheless thinks he should be respected.

V

Like his U.S. blond brother, he’s unashamed.
Like him, his private life’s a total mess.
Like him, he finds a way not to be blamed
For each debacle, faux pas, and distress
That he visits on all. Like him, he can’t be tamed
By decency, hard work, or politesse.
This trumpery somehow gives him authority
With a not inconsiderable minority.

VI

Jacob Rees-Mogg is clever, there’s no doubt.
He too has placed his bets that authenticity
Will over his old-fogeyness win out
Among the voters. English eccentricity,
Especially with toffs, still has some clout:
The tugging-forelock sort of class complicity,
That flatters you you can improve your station,
As long as old Etonians run the nation.

VII

Nigel Farage and David Davis—prats
Who like to boast they’ve been around the block,
And know a thing or two—walk round like cats
Who’ve drunk huge vats of cream. Their poppycock
About how Brexit will mean bureaucrats
No longer will hold Britain back is chock-
A-block with balderdash, as if their rabble,
Could organize a single game of Scrabble.

VIII

Blokish insouciance and rank disdain,
Incompetent confusion and verbosity,
Have always been the methods of these vain
And deeply shallow men. What a monstrosity
That they would sell the future just to gain
Political legs-up! What an atrocity
That people should consider them the leaders.
But then these fools are always lucky bleeders!

IX

They’re always failing upward. Slick and trite,
Their preening sophistry passes for wit.
They love to claim they’re champions who will fight
For “ordinary people,” but they quit,
Or scatter like cockroaches in sunlight,
When someone calls them out for their horseshit.
Before long, they’re handed another post:
Their only task is who can screw up most!

X

Corbyn’s no better. Stubborn, uninspired,
And clinging on to power (just like May),
He’s likewise lost his party, which required
A leader who could lead. They both display
A bloody-mindedness mixed with the tired
Old nostrums of the right and left. The Day
Of Judgment will soon offer its conclusion:
These two were victims of their self-delusion.

XI

As one, these vanguards and the self-appointed,
New-minted tribunes of the people spout
Their flagrant lies. It’s like they’re treble-jointed,
So freely they twist facts, turn inside out,
And flip things on their head. So, now anointed,
They fancy they stand on the last redoubt
Between a splendid future or great past,
Or vice versa. None of it will last.

XII

It will not last because it is not true:
It once was—when world atlases ran pink,
Enforced by gunboats, industry, and new
Artillery that fired at each Chink
And Darkie who dared fight back. Very few
Would question “Free Trade” when they’re on the brink
Of slaughter, losing everything, addiction.
Since then, we British have enjoyed the fiction

XIII

That everywhere we went, roses were strewn
Before our feet. Benighted peoples wept
In joy at quoting Kipling. You would swoon
As well if you were forced to be adept
At ceding cash, land, clout to each buffoon
Who aimed his gun and forced you to accept
That being ruled was good for you? Their lot
Was to make sure Great Britain wasn’t forgot.

XIV

It didn’t last—empires must fade and fall:
Exhausted by defending every border,
Or lacking people who believe it all
(The altruistic humbug). Soon disorder
Invades the Motherland, begins to crawl
Across the shires and sleepy ’burbs, toward her
Most sacred sites. Then, in a conflagration,
The “project” is destroyed to save the nation.

XV

Britain’s decline, of course, was more discreet:
Some lines drawn on a map, the lowered flags,
Royal salutes, the gathering of the fleet,
And tearful memsahibs packing their bags.
Or that’s the myth we tell ourselves: the elite
We chose remained in charge to act as drags
On any persons who might have the thought
That they or their homeland could not be bought.

XVI

The fires that destroyed the British Pax
Were sparked in Passchendaele, the Somme, Verdun,
Gallipoli, and Amritsar; the cracks
Widened by Mau Mau, Suez. One by one,
The ever-loyal subjects turned their backs
Toward the Empire upon which the sun
Would never set. Instead (an act of stealth),
The stolen-from now had the Commonwealth.

XVII

Remove the Commonwealth and the E.U.
Within which the U.K. can strut the stage
And claim its status, what is left to view?
The U.N. and G7? I would wage
A bet that after Brexit very few
Among the sovereign states will care to gauge
Their deeds by what Great Britain says. The shift?
G.B.’s a little island, cast adrift.

XVIII

The U.S. knows it can command the heights
Of any new trade deal. The PRC
Likewise retains the upper hand. What rights
Or standards Brits may seek to guarantee,
Will be abandoned so the leading lights
Post-Brexit can inform the bourgeoisie
That, though each deal in truth is no great shakes,
We’re free at last to make our own mistakes.

XIX

Is this what people want—a throwback to
Grey fish and chips, stale crisps, bingo, warm ale?
Or pebble beaches, deckchairs, and beef stew;
And footie down the pub as you inhale
Smoke from the dying fag ends seeping through
Your clothes and hair? The Sun and Daily Mail
Injecting you with prudish prurience
Under the guise of “good old common sense”?

XX

What really do the Brexiteers believe
Will signify the country’s Age of Gold?
Who’ll pick the crops or staff the wards, receive
The rude complaints, or wash the cold
And filthy toilets, hold the hand and grieve,
Or wipe the wrinkled bottoms of the old?
Who’ll fix the sink, stitch up the broken heart,
Who will repair what has been torn apart?

XXI

“Fear not!” (They say.) “We will bestride the earth!
A nimble, never-ending source of skill.
At first it may be tricky, as a dearth
Of fresh investment, low-cost labor, will
Mean businesses will close; the lowered worth
Of pounds and pence and property will chill
The already cool economy. But that pain,
Will merely make us truly strong again.

XXII

“That is the bulldog spirit: when confronted
With enemies who want to do us harm,
We’ve stood as one. Undaunted, we have blunted
The mightier powers, and without alarm,
Kept calm and carried on. Sure, we only stunted
Attacks until we could an ally charm
To fight for, we mean, with us. But that’s how
We always did it: Why start changing now?”

XXIII

That was the case when troops fled from Dunkirk:
Britain was on the brink of being invaded.
Churchill hoped that his rhetoric would work
To buy time so the U.S. was persuaded
To join the war—or Hitler’d go berserk
And open up an Eastern Front. Hope faded
Through ’41 until the German army
Launched Operation Barbarossa—barmy!

XXIV

And when the Japanese attacked the Yanks
Double relief! For now the Soviet power
And the U.S. could usefully send tanks
Against the Axis forces, and allow a
Beleaguered Britain to give tired thanks
For being saved at last. Though Eisenhower
And Zhukov had men and materiél,
They let the British play with them as well.

XXV

The trouble is that when the U.S.A.
And Soviets brought the Nazis to their knees,
The British thought that it was really they
Who pulled it off. “Excuse me, if you please,
Boris and Uncle Sam, you did O.K.,
But we were first. While you were ‘Let’s appease,’
By staying neutral or signing a pact
With Hitler, we spent two years being attacked.”

XXVI

Once more, the myth of plucky little Britain
Punching above its weight was resurrected.
Once more, we claimed our “natural” right to sit in
The rooms where The Big Issues were dissected.
Once more, our “rightful” place was underwritten
By how and what we spoke. And thus protected
By the U.S., the ashes of a past
Were blown upon and briefly glowed at last.

XXVII

These are illusions. Many an Asian power
Is now resurgent; Russia sets its traps.
The Turks don’t care about Our Finest Hour,
The French and Dutch and Germans deem us saps.
America retreats (its mood turned sour).
And while each John Bull type stands up and claps,
Reserves, investments, and assurance slip
Away without even a toodle pip.”

XXVIII

Perhaps we’ll hang with Norway and the Swiss,
And claim the moral high ground, stay impartial,
And have great social services. But we’d miss
The chance to see brass bands, parades, and martial
Displays of the armed forces; take the piss
At “lesser” lands of the invaded. The harsh’ll
Declare that we’ve become the new Fredonia,
Allied with Iceland and North Macedonia.

Canto III: March 2019

I

Bob Mueller (he of stoical propriety)—
Whose silence speaks more fluently than Tweets;
Whose guarded manner and well-honed sobriety
For two long years have kept us in our seats;
Whose leak-proof counsel rebuffed notoriety,
The obloquy directed at elites,
And provocation—has reached the conclusion,
Regarding Russia, there was no collusion.

II

Or so we’re led to think by AG Barr,
A helmet-headed white man in a suit,
Like Mueller. All the news we know, so far,
Comes from his four-page letter. I’d dispute
The need to see the whole thing (re: Ken Starr),
But we need more than this to let the brute
Get off scot-free (or merely with a warning)
For inculpation, cheating, and suborning.

III

How rich it is that month in and month out,
Mueller has been belittled and defamed.
His public duty has been questioned; doubt
Been cast on his procedure; he’s been blamed
For each indictment he’s brought forth. The lout
Who’s done this? The guy who should be ashamed?
The head of state! The very man he scoffed at,
Is he to whom he should present a doffed hat.

IV

Mueller is noncommittal on obstruction
(Or so we think), which means . . . well, I don’t know.
I guess one has to make one’s own deduction
Of what were questions, hints, or threats. Although
He mayn’t have ordered it, the blast and ruction
And the theatrical, absurd dumb show
He stages each time someone might suspect him,
Fools no one but those who want to protect him.

V

Moreover, he is so flagrant about it!
It’s not some master plan that he’s unrolling.
He doesn’t hide: in fact he loves to shout it
From highest rooftops. The disgusting trolling,
The winking, outrage, walk-backs leave no doubt it
Will never matter as long as the polling
Shows that his base thinks no one is above him,
And, what he really wants from them: they love him.

VI

Consider, if you will, the Pharisees
Who thunder as the (a)Moral Majority.
They’ll cede his avarice and lust, the sleaze
And sloth, as long as it is his priority
To give them judges who will, by degrees,
Return them to what they deem God’s authority
Over the U.S.A. and its democracy,
By channeling a sinner’s rank hypocrisy.

VII

At some point, virtue will be deemed a sin,
And modesty a weakness of the mind.
Abortion will be banned, unless you’re kin,
In which case . . . “Well, there’s someone we’ve assigned,
Who’ll ‘handle’ it.” As long as there is skin
Upon your dick, your creed won’t be maligned:
Unless, of course, your faith is up for capture:
For votes, arms sales, big money, or The Rapture.

VIII

Meanwhile, the thieving scum who raid the coffers
Where widows’ mites are dropped in humble trust,
Trawl dioceses looking for better offers
So they can join the reverent upper crust,
Who go to church to network. He who proffers
A tax-avoidance scheme is of the Just:
For lost sheep are best gathered by the priest;
Collected, they are handier to be fleeced.

IX

And so the “pious” bow their heads and pray
That their portfolios and investments rise.
They call for peace for all, but ensure they
Allow the NRA to weaponize
Each citizen. “Earth is the Lord’s,” they say,
But they pollute the air, the seas, the skies.
They claim they hold a Reverence for Life,
And yet they thrive on death, conflict, and strife.

X

What saves us is his rank ineptitude,
His rigid, wounded, self-obsessed malignity.
In sum, he turns a win into a feud
And stamps upon the slender shoots of dignity
That had begun to sprout. He gets unglued
So easily that anyone’s benignity
(Should one bestow it) he’d consider bait.
How it must hurt to be so filled with hate!

XI

By now, the assumption he causes commotion
To hide some brilliant, nefarious scheme
Does not obtain—the sort of helpless notion,
That in the anarchy detects a gleam
Of logic, and amid the self-devotion
Assumes he has a slightly bigger dream
Than ornamenting his self-advertisement,
His brand, his dynasty, and aggrandizement.

XII

At some point, I imagine, the report
Will find its way (redacted) to the press.
We’ll get to read of sordidness—the sort
Of scuzzy deals and kickbacks that obsess
Good-governance types, but which are like sport
To ordinary voters. Their success
Is now so bound up with him that no sin
Carries a cost as long as each can win.

XIII

Indeed, what happened doesn’t really matter;
They don’t care if the Russians interfered.
High principle? The rule of law? Don’t flatter
Yourself that these things count: They disappeared
Decades ago. This superannuated satyr,
This self-important, fatuous Bluebeard,
Merely encapsulates the deviant norms
He throws aside in daily Twitter storms.

XIV

I thought that he’d be gone by now—I did:
I thought there’d be a pale to go beyond.
I thought that we would find a way to rid
Ourselves of him, or somehow we’d respond
More resolutely, or we’d slam the lid
Upon his silly rants; that he’d abscond
When his compadres were jailed or indicted,
Or flee his sad administration, blighted.

XV

It’s not that he’s not done enough to prove
That he’s not fit for office, or has grown
In gravitas and aptitude. Each move
He’s made has carbonized or overthrown
Some obligation. It is still his groove
To hit down, mock, insult, betray, condone
Opprobrium upon the dead or living.
And yet he carries on without misgiving.

XVI

At every step, he’s been either supported
Or not condemned by leaders on the right.
Either through silence or wildly contorted
Methods, they’ve sought to shuck their oversight
Responsibilities. They have cavorted
In their own cynicism, left a blight
Upon what’s left of honor and restraint,
And ripped up decency as merely quaint.

XVII

But then right-wingers have always been rougher
Than any liberal. They love to claim
The so-called moral high ground: yet they’re tougher
On those who flirt with moderation; blame
The left for each infraction; and then buffer
Their own for doing precisely the same
Or much, much worse. They have the unnerving knack
Of praising those they’re stabbing in the back.

XVIII

His secret (though it isn’t really hidden)
Is that he doesn’t care (although he does);
He’ll do exactly what he wants, unbidden,
Since he adores the frenzy and the buzz.
Yet, like a mule, he’ll let himself be ridden
By stronger men, and relish it, because
He thinks by waiting on them idiotically,
He’ll ingest their respect and chops osmotically.

XIX

But then again, I could just be mistaken;
That, blinkered, like the press I’ve gone astray;
That every expectation is forsaken,
By verities that can’t be wished away:
One is that faith in him will not be shaken
No matter what he does or he might say:
He’s tapped a primal, atavistic need
That won’t run dry, wherever it may lead.

XX

A need for someone tough who will take charge;
Who’ll make you feel you’re special, and you’re right.
Someone who’s not afraid to live life large;
And hint you could, too, if you stand and fight.
A man who’s in your corner, who will barge
His way up to the front; and take delight
In shocking others, simply as a joke;
Who’s filthy rich, although he’s always broke.

XXI

Who cares if he is rude, knocks heads, breaks rules?
An omelet requires broken eggs.
The folks in Washington are simply fools
Who think they’re smart, when they are just the dregs.
He’s doing what he said. He ridicules
Both parties for their pompousness; which begs
The question: “Why’s it he who’s C-in-C?”
May in fact be, “Why didn’t they pick me?”

XXII

And that is that. The invective and the crowing
Are surface noise his fan-base disregard,
Like boos and hisses at a game. The throwing
Of pointed slights is fun. It’s no holds barred;
This ain’t beanball or crochet. Elbowing
And counterpunching are part of the hard,
Essential strategies of politics:
“You grow your carrots; we will keep the sticks.”

XXIII

As long as the economy keeps humming,
And people feel their interests are protected
(They say), then may the swagger keep on coming,
The shamelessness is what got him elected.
If the Establishment can’t take the scrumming
Then let them leave the field of play, ejected.
We want a boss who’ll do the dirty work,
So what if he’s a narcissistic jerk?

XXIV

Thus, his supporters: How to contradict them?
Perhaps it doesn’t matter what they think.
They clearly don’t believe that he has tricked them,
Or that he is a toady and a fink.
Of Democrats, they love that he has licked them
When they assumed that they were on the brink
Of having him impeached. He’s stronger now
Than ever; he’s defeated them—and how!

XXV

And yet, as much as he is vindicated,
The Southern District of New York awaits.
His businesses are being investigated
And he might still sail into dire straits.
He might find he is not as insulated
From past behaviors or former Playmates
As he had thought. These might not be impeachable,
But no one’s trust or fortress is unbreachable.

XXVI

He will conclude that the report’s a sign
That he’s untouchable. He’ll fret and stew
About the enemies and traitors, whine
Some more, and then hotheadedly pursue
A policy that Democrats assign
As their main goal next year to attend to:
His triumph barely lasted one full day,
Before he told Barr, “Kill the ACA.”

XXVII

With one rash comment, like Bela Lugosi
The ACA fight rose up from the dead:
A move that must have thrilled Nancy Pelosi,
Now that impeachment has been put to bed.
His team of strategists aren’t virtuosi
(Each a.m., they must check Twitter with dread).
The G.O.P. must now pretend a “plan”
For healthcare can be found to please the man.

XXVIII

In some ways we are lucky the report
Was published when it was. It means there’s time
For Democrats to say “amen,” and sort
Priorities and candidates (the slime
Will be thrown soon enough). The Supreme Court
And climate change, much more than any crime
He may have done, should occupy attention
(And other policies that I could mention).

XXIX

Beyond that, it is vital the campaign
Is not waylaid by who is “woke” enough.
What matters is what truly is germane
Without the interference of the stuff
That’s catnip to the right. You may complain
That candidates aren’t perfect: but, well . . . tough!
I swear I’ll wrap my hands around the throat
Of any purist who won’t deign to vote.

XXX

So, let’s get real. Focus on the prize,
And let the bawling baby suck his lolly!
Right now he’s riding high, but my surmise
Is that he’s never very far from folly.
Consider this a blessing in disguise:
Buck up! Stand tall! Be rid of melancholy!
The list of candidates is still expanding;
They’ll make their cases while he is grandstanding.

XXXI

The next few months, I may devote to them—
Perhaps explore their policy positions.
I’ve had enough of fury, gasps, and phlegm.
Indeed, I need to restock my munitions
(Poetic that is), mount each apothegm,
To be deployed in forthcoming editions.
It looks, dear friends, as though there will be more:
I’ve now resigned myself to a Book Four.

Canto IV: April 2019

Canto V: May 2019

Canto VI: June 2019

Canto VII: July 2019

Canto VIII: August 2019

Canto IX: September 2019

Canto X: October 2019

Canto XI: November 2019

Canto XII: December 2019