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Six Friends Around a Table

(It's late. One leads to another.
Oak blazes on a grate.)


Clinton Sworn in as First Woman President

  Vows to Heal Nation in 2009

  Fiery Chicago Activist Delivers Inaugural Poem

We Are More than Lehman Brothers

In a republic, among equals,
much of the element of fear
is missing from respect.
Our sacred places
frame arguments.

We gather at the edge
of an abyss today,
two million colors against the cold,
resolved, looking over,
to keep the ground under our feet.

As if aviation had followed
the promising path of zeppelins
and Sandy Koufax had integrated baseball,
being allowed to strike out a Baptist,
anachronistic blindness raised a panic.

We countered with an Olduvai morality,
the one before any.
Who’d be famous for greed,
the size of the hole he left
and the bad taste of his name?

A pawned future was inches away
behind unbreakable glass.
Our point of view shifted
on streets from Philadelphia to San Diego
that eventually led here.

We’re all Amish, now, and Indonesian,
very likely Japanese.
A recurrent wave ran through
a half-imagined country
so apparently solid.

This electorate has refuted
unanswerable power.
The shoe buckles
of capitalized ideals flash,
yes, that had been rarely seen.

The person beside you may look
like the first democrat
in the light of a noon ceremony,
yet our hopes are reasonable,
as our stone Founders
would have desired for us
and this occasion when they lived.

After applause we wish were bare-handed,
followed by a bare-shouldered evening,
as we recall what brought us here
what remains of bell-chested celebration
is undiminished relief,
observing the effect
of a cleared mind on the Potomac.


Stump of Empire

A Camry in the shade of the Hudson Valley,
I half-notice a trooper sliding
from a verge behind drumming exceeders.
He shoots by gratifyingly
and someone else pays.

I’m free to mull what’s our news as well:
the UK’s done it.
An insolent, straw-haired fiend
brought First Lady Cameron to tears.
Fraud and credulity proved
invincible. Each headline’s
Tits up Britannia, Page 3.

It was more than a few chaps with sand
directing the fire of sepoys.

Brussels, please, may consider a deal
before sheep scout tufted Trafalgar.

Scotland can leave but England endure
when Upstate means dry ground.

A plummeting nut cracks on the windshield,
dispelling island reveries.


Eleven Eight

The White House is gone.

A mouth-splitting smile
that might never have been disarming,
Kellyanne’s, almost circles her head
with each cabinet nomination.

The defeated candidate, Tiny Tim,
taking long walks in Virginia,
may not have to embrace martyrdom.

Soup Nazi, is your 267-pound
septuagenarian vessel Hindenburg?
What truck backfire will go Reichstag?

A looted, devalued country
and the first American president
to find asylum in Moscow seem possible.

Rust Dancers may halt.
Enemies surround them
and a way of life has not returned.

Hundreds of millions
have become sea level people.

But Apollo could be invoked
before Article 50 is.
France might disdain Marine Le Pen
and the deep state begin to confine
the executive branch to the Oval Office.

A growing majority may feel less dispossessed,
not joining columns of Parisians
in 1940 on all roads south,
four years of occupation in the dust ahead.

          BOOK OWNER

Letter to Sgt. Greenberg

It may be that you put down
Léon Werth's bible of defeat feeling quelled.
This holed tall ship republic
isn’t democratic France.
Reynaud’s not on the phone to Churchill.

The Fossil Confederacy -- Exxon,
Putin, News Corp -- slid into power
on the folly and bad faith of Goldman Democrats.
Rainbowed pools of untruth
we ordinarily stepped around
New Orleansed to Lake Nassers
and seclude desirable properties.
Ivanka the Good, intercede.

Mandarins loyal to previous rulers
might have envied my upland retirement
in the woods east of Rhinebeck
with a trusted mobile device.

Market forces just want to be free.
Our silicon offspring may understand
that only a mind without personality
can bear eternity. They could thoughtfully switch off
the circles of enchanted billionaires.
Or each in his toaster, all's right with the world.

A liberality of friends
surrounds a winter table.
Where to start – Anna Chennault?
FDR ranks below Coolidge.
Have you seen the red, blue, and white on top Russian flag pin?

          BEARDED MAN

The Orange Death

        Missed some, Mike.

Good souls, are we agreed
no honorable or sentient mammal
can tolerate this pack of dogs?

When its apologists spew
voter fraud or tax reform
will our burritos and scrambled eggs
arc from our esophagi?

That of the kindhearted are red,
of the bilious, yellow-green.

After several such incidents, spokespersons stand
near linebacker aides' umbrellas.
Major briefings are conducted
behind spattered and dripping glass.

Nausea, the braak splat,
Dutch puddle, is uncontainable.

CNN blurs T---p's tie, to no avail.
The full curse of rapacity
pancakes social structures.

Five judges avoid reflective surfaces.
Two brothers in darkened rooms,
convulsed by dry heaves, cry, "Mercy,
Mother Eleanor. Have pity, St. Martin."
Outside the flies of 1600,
the roar of ruin drowns clemency.


 In the Liz Cheney Administration

It’s instructive to think of a congressman
gobbling with fear as a mob surged figuratively
into his windowless townhouse. Leech not lamprey,
he’d watched the donor boat sail.

Love in the animal kingdom is assisted rape.
We tried that form of government.
Crumpled and charred vehicles no longer choke the roads
and traffic signs are back, as it were.

Good prevailed. We said that when a grass blade
appeared between unexploded shells
in a field churned by artillery.
Here jails bulge with Republicans again.

(The speakers clink bottles and cans with good humor,
like plague century pilgrims after a tale.)

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