Category Archives: Politics

Is Joe?

Is Joe
the rainbow
after the storm
the light
at the end of
the tunnel
the bar man
who will create
a cocktail
that is better
than the current mix
of braggadocio and bile,
garnished with a licorice stick
of lies, the Orange Russian?
Is he the man
to drive the sedan of democracy
straight down the middle of the road
to remind us of what
we used to regard as order?
Or does he have to be that?
It would be enough to be
the ornament on the hood
of that sedan,
because the thing is
he doesn’t have to be the thing
others can take care of the thing
he just needs to be
a symbol of the thing.
Is Joe
the rainbow
after the storm
the light
at the end of
the tunnel?
Jesus, I hope so.

The challenge from Brendan over at earthweal is “Write about storms and rainbows from whatever vantage seems most appropriate to you.”

I think I made a mistake

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I think I made a mistake

baselines, fault lines , paradigm shifts
ignorance has been weaponized
what will we do, what will we do
when all the nouns are verbed?

I think I made a mistake
how is there still doubt in that sentence?
A man goes to a party
to get infected with a virus
in order to prove
that the virus is a hoax,
the man dies.
It’s hard not to be harsh.
Is this a new baseline,
a new low?
Is it an intelligence deficit?
Is it lack of education?
No, this is something different
this is a sea change
the beast has left Bethlehem
the malware has been activated
the human race has started to self-limit.
Whatever god, assembly of gods
or conglomerate of alien scientists
malevolent or benevolent
that designed this whole shebang
that opened this can of worms
has had enough
the malware has been activated
the fix is in
it’s past midnight and the eagle has flown
Aunt Mary is hanging out the washing
the human race has started to self-limit.

A man goes to a party
to get infected with a virus
in order to prove
that the virus is a hoax,
the man dies.

 

Brendan over at earthweal poses the challenge: Observe shifting baselines in your world, in climate change, your nation’s governance, the pandemic. 

The Fallen (2020)

 

 

 

The Fallen (2020)

Today I thought about Reince Priebus
not so much the man,
more the strange music of his name;
those slender vowels reversing
that echo of wince
the possible meanings
a salve, an ointment
put some Reince on that cut, son;
the Latinate portliness of Priebus
a writ to slap someone with – Habeas Priebus
a complicated skateboard manoeuvre
he executed a perfect reverse Priebus;
then I thought of Anthony, dear Anthony,
Scaramucci, Scaramucci
will you do the fandango,
you were not long with us
but still the smell of aftershave lingers
and it was you who let us know
about Steve Bannon’s auto fellatio,
alas, poor Steve
abandoned on the side of the road
like a rumpled sofa
a rumpled sofa smelling of yesterday’s sweat
and stale doctrine;
and what about Spicer and Huckabee
cartoon characters
Plucky and Angry
your souls will be in the repair shop
for some time to come.
They appear in waves,
the arrested –
Flynn, Cohen and Stone,
the ones who once were serious people –
McMaster, Kelly, Bolton.
In years to come when men and women gather
to talk of greatness
your names will be long forgotten.
The list of the fallen goes on and on
and still Humpty sits on his wall
and still we wait for Humpty’s Great Fall.

A different version of this poem appeared in Oddball Magazine

Taking part in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal . https://earthweal.com/2020/07/03/earthweal-open-link-weekend-27/

The Path Forward

 

 

The Path Forward

no dumbass in a MAGA hat
is going to solve this one
all the bluster you can muster
will do nothing at all,
remember that guy
who got first in the class
the one wearing glasses
who never got the girl
he’s the one who will save our asses
so get out of the way
you won’t be missed
this one will be solved by scientists.

 

The challenge over at earthweal is to write a poem about The Crossroad we are at. Well, this is possibly not the subtlest poem ever written but hey…..these are not subtle times.

Ironic Distancing (with bonus haiku)

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Ironic Distancing

The mind wanders
I think of a word that rhymes with ‘banker’
and marvel at how
in the middle of a global crisis
my brain still tilts
towards the trivial, the juvenile.
I try a sound poem
panic, pandemic, pandemonium
but it’s missing something,
panache, perhaps.
I make up a joke involving Peter Pan
but decide now is not the time to share it.
I detect the late onset of maturity
and feel depressed.
I text some friends,
we try to out-snide each other
but after a while
we are all chewing on the same bone.
I’m besieged by an idiocy of idioms –
the whole nine yards
the whole kit and caboodle
and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
I re-assess my relationship with surfaces
I can no longer count on
that counter to lean on,
and as someone inclined
to whistle past the graveyard
walk past the writing on the wall
I have to admit
that the object in the mirror
was a lot closer
than it first appeared.

I write a haiku

four in the morning
moon shining on toilet bowl
porcelain pathway.

Watch your back! Basho!

 

Taking part in open link weekend over at earthweal.

 

Watching CNN (a sort of rant)

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Anderson, Chris and Don and their assembled pundits are discussing the assassination of General Soleimani, the Iranian general. They all agree that he was a “bad actor”, a “bad guy”. They don’t say “bad hombre”,but it’s knocking at the door. This appears to be sufficient to warrant execution, it’s the timing and ongoing strategy they are concerned about.
Why I ask myself are they talking like characters in a 1950’s western?
Why are they talking like school kids?
Bad guys, good guys – “goodies and baddies”.

Back in the Classroom:

Teacher, by the end of the major combat phase of the Iraq war, 7,419 Iraqi civilians had been killed, primarily by U.S. air-and-ground forces, is George Bush Junior a bad guy, a bad actor, a bad hombre?

No, child, every American president is good.

Teacher, were those innocent civilians “collateral damage” or “victims of terror”?

That is a complex and morally confusing question, child. Here in America we do not like confusion.

Teacher, why do the American media continue to refer to the Canadians killed in the Ukraine Airlines crash as Iranians.

It’s less confusing that way, see above.

Teacher, is President Trump a bad guy, a bad actor, a bad hombre?

No, child, President Trump is a liar, a racist, possibly a crook and possibly a sexual predator but he is not a bad guy, a bad actor, a bad hombre.

Teacher, why are Anderson, Chris and Don so angry with him? Why the sanctimonious, po-faced editorials?

Because he is un-statesmanlike and because they have become lazy and are content to trot out the same tired outrage every day of the week. Their ambition is limited, they are happy just to be “not Hannity”.

But teacher, they seem like nice guys.

Your point is?

Boris Johnson at the G7 (a sort of triple tanka)

 

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Boris Johnson at the G7 

Can’t believe I’m here.
Oh! The joy of dissembling!
Japes, pranks and capers!

What is Macron looking at?
I think Donald might like me.

There’s Melania!
Those cheekbones, the north face of
the bloody Eiger,

scale her promontories, what!
No time for rumpy pumpy,

lots to do! Trudeau
is smirking, colonial
prat! I think Merkel

wants to spank me, go nanny!
Concentrate! Now where was I?

If Robert Mueller Wrote a Tanka (plus Mr’s Mueller’s haiku)

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If Robert Mueller Wrote a Tanka

Why the long face, Bob?
always that same damn question
since I was a boy,

and always the same answer:
it is long because it’s long.

Couldn’t resist reposting that one. Okay, just one more……

Mr’s Mueller’s Haiku

You’re disappointed

you don’t know disappointment

you don’t know damp squibs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: English Bay, Vancouver, A-MAZE-ING LAUGHTER, by Yue Minjun.

If Robert Mueller Wrote a Tanka

IMG_0589 (2)

 

If Robert Mueller Wrote a Tanka

Why the long face, Bob?
always that same damn question
since I was a boy,

and always the same answer:
it is long because it’s long.

Okay, just one more……

If Justin Trudeau Wrote a Haiku

I’m a feminist;
man, it’s difficult, women…
I just don’t get them.

 

Photo: English Bay, Vancouver, A-MAZE-ING LAUGHTER, by Yue Minjun.

The Scale of Things … (a Poem)

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The Scale of Things

Is it possible to have a metric
a way to rate privilege
one that does not reference
gender, economic status, race?

Can the moral high ground be assigned?

Is a child loved by a parent
not more privileged
than one that is not?

 

This is in response to Anmol’s challenge over at dVerse which begins with the quote :

To be white, or straight, or male, or middle class is to be simultaneously ubiquitious and invisible. You’re everywhere you look, you’re the standard against which everyone else is measured….Michael S. Kimmel

Fareed Zakaria is Stealing my Stuff

I was watching Fareed Zakaria and Don Lemon on CNN last Friday night; they were trying to make sense of  the ongoing tragic farce that is the Trump White House and Don Lemon posed a question which could be summarised as follows : “Is Donald Trump crazy like a fox or crazy like a fool”. It was clear that Fareed thinks that the needle has been stuck on ‘fool’ for quite some time. At one point, he says to Don something like “look, you have to understand that Donald Trump is a performance artist.” This sounded familiar to me, so I looked back through my blog posts and there it was in a poem I published on Reuben Wooley’s website :’I am not a Silent Poet” back in January 2016. Here’s the poem, but please click on the link above and check out Reuben’s excellent site.

Trumped

I get it now

Donald T

Is a performance artist

Like that guy in Beijing

Sucking dust out of the air

With a vacuum cleaner

Or maybe he’s

one of those mirrors

In a fairy tale

Reflecting only

The worst in ourselves.

 

Fareed, I’m waiting to hear from you.

 

Steve Bannon’s Eyes

 

look like

portals to

 

hell.

American Carnage

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American Carnage

Not the export it used to be,

nothing like the glory days

Hiroshima, Vietnam, Cambodia;

still popular at home tho’

nearly twelve thousand gun deaths a year

the gun barrel points both ways.

This is not much of a poem, is it?

That last metaphor was a bit clumsy

and there’s no music in statistics

but there is a rhyme in that last line

and there’s assonance in ‘American Carnage’

and there is an ass in the White House

but enough about that

stay away from the low hanging fruit

we need a rhyme

carnage, baggage, garbage, image

imagine all the people

that’s what this situation needs

a protest singer, a protest song

three chords and a chorus

that we can sway and link arms to

Where are you

Josh (Ritter)

Michael (Stipe)

Bruce ?

The Unconventional Republican (remix)

The center folds

and all ’round topple

into the opening void,

what rough beast

rabble in tow

slouches towards Washington

bursting with tawdry pomp

and irrational schemes.

 

A few notes, this poem of course echoes and directly quotes “The Second Coming” by WB Yeats, a poem which was written after the first World War and still resonates today. For a brilliant analysis of the poem, read “Break, Blow, Burn” by Camille Paglia. The Irish jazz singer, Christine Tobin has put the poem to music on a CD called “Sailing to Byzantium” which is well worth checking out.