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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


“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.”


“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?”


“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.”


“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!”


“’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.


“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.”


“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.”


“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.


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.


“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.


“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.”


“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.”


“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?”


“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.


“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.


“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.”


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

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