It was late and the insomniac moon
Played cold, cruel music in my ears,
A seashell hum foot-tapping
To the beat of toss-turning dreams.
I awoke, horrified by the carnival of broken glass
That barnstormed through my bedroom while I slept.
The predawn silence was fluid and smooth
Like a whale gliding in the depths,
And I resurfaced into consciousness to face
A cracked-pepper sky seasoning my despair.
Hope was strewn about like leaf corpses
Assassinated by a psychopathic lawn mower
Made in a nation gone mad—
Home of the free, the brave, the $600 billion defense budget,
The 357 million firearms—
And driven by an unwitting purveyor of genocide,
Their cadaver-stench served bittersweet
Like a poisoned grande Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha:
“America, your coffee is ready!”
The first rays of morning crept eerily up the sky
Like an Australian insect up a beachgoer’s leg,
And in surprise I swatted at the setting moon and rising sun
As though I could shoo away Donald Trump
And Swiffer-clean his petroleum-spill of corruption
Before he injected his venom into my arteries.
At last the day dawned bright-blue and clear,
A perfect early-March day,
But a nauseating wind blew fiercely, leaving
The still-denuded trees bent over like a cancer patient,
Their splintered branches spilled like vomit
Induced by an intense round of chemo.
46.1% of the country was sick; the prognosis wasn’t good.
That November day in 2016, the voting booths were hospital wards
Filled with the soon-to-be self-inflicted wounds of the disenchanted,
No, of the racist, the bigoted, the misogynistic;
By now, gangrene had long ago set in, had spread like fungus, like black mold,
Like the effluent of a Scott Pruitt chemical factory,
And the remainder of the country had too fallen ill.
By the afternoon the news was again reporting
The latest outrage—He said what? He did what?
By the afternoon I wanted to go back to bed,
Wanted to find refuge in the sanity of cutlery,
Stainless steel appliances, granite countertops: home.
But I had things to do. So many things to do.
The grocery stores were still open, still selling flowers
As though it were business as usual,
Only the food was tasteless, the flowers for our collective funeral.
Finally, in the evening, I came home.
Exhausted, like an astronomer
In search of intelligence in the cosmos
And finding nothing, nothing, year after year after year,
I closed my eyes to it all
And heard Dr. King, his sonorous voice booming
In the cathedral of pending night, his words
Streaking like bats, like comets, like arrows of cloud
Across the sky, arrows drawn and shot
By an elemental rage, an earthquake’s desire
To destroy all of D.C. if only to destroy the Man in the White House.
Dr. King told me to love. I am trying, Dr. King!
You faced the dogs, the lynchings, the bombings, the Klan.
What do I face? My blood runs cold but does not spill;
If the dogs were biting, I’d let them bite.
But times have changed; I don’t think it’s like that anymore.
The lawyers file suit, wait for their day in court. The Democrats filibuster,
Then give in. Nonprofits do what they can with what little they have.
The press reports the corporate truth, just true-enough, but no more.
And I shout, “Fuck Trump!” I shout and stomp in rage and fear
Like a herd of rhinos on the Serengeti,
As though they could outrun the poacher
And I the full faith and credit of the United States of America.
So how about this. I’ll destroy my stockpile of John Wilkes Booth naïveté.
After all, I’m no Seal Team Six, this no Abbottabad;
The greatest purveyor of violence in the world is holed up in the People’s House,
His finger on the trigger of Armageddon:
What good is my water pistol of disdain?
I won’t forget what 62,979,879 of my fellow citizens did,
But neither will I allow the fact to trap me in a Donner Pass
Of atrocious survival.
Instead, I’ll link arms with all people of good will
And, together marching, donating, resisting,
Promise the prisoners of Auschwitz, of Gulag,
Promise the Jews, the Gypsies, the Tutsi, the Armenians
The Yazidis, the Rohingya (O, you who die as we speak!),
The Dreamers and Native Peoples and refugees worldwide
That over my dead body will we ever again have to proclaim,
Written on Saturday, March 3, 2018