He’s the latest spawn of Hell
with a lanyard and a notch lapel
and “there is no alternative,”
as if nothing has to give,
a stench of sulfur to intrigue
some think-tank from the Ivy League.
Gray-flecked beard and close-cropped hair,
a ruin that’s beyond repair
but crying out for management,
refurbishing, and rising rent,
but atop primordial slimes,
an op-ed in The New York Times,
a view where people look like ants,
paid by fellowships and grants,
a Predator drone with mark on lock,
an unpaid intern on his cock,
a data-driven genocide,
a seminar taught on the side,
a speech into a thousand mics,
a million viral Facebook likes,
a sociopath with lots of friends,
a handshake that never fucking ends,
a five-star meal, a rail of blow,
the so-called former status quo.
The poem is reduced to a statistic
of lines and syllables, attempted tropes,
and stresses. Still, you should be realistic—
you’ll hold off the degenerates with rhyme,
with Ivy League credentials, and you’ll cope
in little magazines, marking time
with versifications of the status quo—
a plea for dialogue, an early snow
beatified, a metaphor that’s felt
in the flipping of a calendar,
one more year before the ice caps melt.
It’s either not our fault—or all our fault.
Shake your head and grip the bannister.
Head to bed or dress up like John Gault,
content there’s really nothing you can do.
content that all real change must start with you.
Resistance wears a muu-muu now.
“Yes we can” and “we know how”
becomes your mother on the line.
You tell her everything is fine,
but she knows better. All the fuss
takes on shades of Oedipus—
a tired old lady on a stage,
the slapstick ending of an age.
Daddy Warbucks, Howard Roark.
A NASDAQ surge. A high-tech dork.
A mother-god is on the phone,
scolding you in monotone.
A shattered statue, endless sands—
a poem no one understands
despite iambic clarity.
Inside a tent marked “VIP”
our goddess goes back to her crypt.
The tripwire, yet again, is tripped.