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Friday, October 21, 2016

The Art of Politics

This entire poem is made up of quotes, primarily Donald Trump's. Though I have thrown in some Alice in Wonderland, 1984, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Catch 22, among others. If you're a fan of the Donald, you probably won't like this. Just a fair warning.

The whole aim of practical politics
is to keep the populace alarmed.[1]
            When Mexico sends its people…
                        They’re bringing drugs.
                        They’re bringing crime.
                        They’re rapists.[2]
                                                            Off with their heads![3]
            I’ll build a great, great wall,
                       And I will make Mexico pay for that wall.
                        Mark my words.[4]
                                                Intelligent people are full of doubt;
                                                 Stupid people are full of confidence.[5]
                                                                        Go back to bed, America![6]
            I would just bomb those suckers…
                        I’d blow up the pipes.
                        I’d blow up every single inch.
                        There would be nothing left.[7]
                                    It is better to be feared than loved.[8]
                                                            You are free to do what we tell you![9]
                                                                        Off with their heads!
              80% of all the shootings in New York City are blacks;
                        If you add in Hispanics, that figure goes to 98%[10]
                                                              Ignorance is strength.[11]                          
It was almost no trick at all… to turn
            I screwed him. That’s what we should be doing.[12]
                                                Vice into virtue and slander into truth,
            Laziness is a trait in blacks.[13]
                                                Arrogance into humility,
            The beauty of me is that I’m very rich… I don’t care. I’m rich.[14]
                                                Brutality into patriotism and sadism into justice.
            A man you can bait with a tweet is not
                        A man we can trust with nuclear weapons.[15]
                                                Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all.
                                                            It merely required no character.[16]
            It is a well-known fact that
            those people who must want to rule people are…
            those least suited to do it.
This is the best we can do folks!
                                                      This is what we have to offer![17]
Anyone who is capable of getting
                     Themselves made President should
Be allowed to do the job. [18]

[1] H. L. Menken
[2] Donald Trump
[3] Lewis Carrol: Alice in Wonderland
[4] Donald Trump
[5] Charles Bukowski
[6] Bill Hicks
[7] Donald Trump
[8] Lewis Carrol: Alice in Wonderland
[9] Bill Hicks
[10] Donald Trump
[11] George Orwell: 1984
[12] Donald Trump
[13] Donald Trump
[14] Donald Trump
[15] Hillary Clinton
[16] Joseph Heller: Catch 22
[17] George Carlin
[18] Douglas Adams: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Don't Matter

“Have you ever seen such a sad picture?”

Angela asked, a soft sigh passing her lips

before leaning down to inhale crystal white lines.

Eyes too old, skin blistered and ragged,

“I used to be quite a sight to see.

The boys lined up just for a glimpse of my smile.”

Rotting black teeth peek out.

Her tremored hands light up a Lucky Strike;

deep puff, release.

“Fell in love with a boy with pretty words,

but that’s all he gave. Well, that and two babies.

Then one day he was gone. Poof. Just like that.”

Dazed, now that relief has kicked in,

eyes somewhere in the past.

“Never should have been a Mama.

Never could stand all that screaming and crying.

No, the Lord never should’ve given me those babies.”

Pick, pick, picking at her skin;

shake, shake, shaking her head.

“The first one, we named him Tommy, drowned.

Playing by the river. I should’ve…

Well, should’ves don’t matter now.”

The cigarette glows bright, then release.

“He was four, just a baby.

The cops made me identify the body.

Blue and white, my baby.”

Flat voice, flat eyes.

“Then those CPS people came and took the other one.

I didn’t argue, I wasn’t fit to raise babies.

But sometimes I wonder…”

Sharp sadness flickers across her face for just a moment

before she eases back into the bliss.

“Well, I guess wondering don’t matter anymore either.”


Wind swept to pollinate this exotic shore,

in which I am the exotic,

where concrete and jungle fight for dominance.

The gecko’s staccato squeaking,

a lonely call for the momentary chill of rain,

breaks through night’s heat.

I long to join his call, praying for the deluge,

a monsoon to cleanse this ache for home.

For when I close my eyes,

I can still feel the Savannah twilight heavy on my shoulders,

can still smell sea salted marshes,

slow Southern days ingrained in my bones,

echoes of the cricket’s chirp drowning out the tropical murmurs.

But both are part of me now, edges indistinguishable.

Can you taste it? Comfort and spice that pulse steady within.

Home, you ask, as I examine these rootless feet.

Faith of my Fathers

For Clyas L. Crenshaw (Papa)

Faith is snuggling up to my Papa

on that hard church pew every Sunday morning.

Thinking this is what God must be like,

steady, strong, and tenderly holding my hand.

The way his soul would sing those hymns,

his rich baritone filling each word to the bursting,

moved my little girl heart, and lifted me as an offering to Jesus.

“Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art”

spilling forth with passionate love.

In those innocent eyes, my Father in heaven

looked exactly like the grandfather beside me.

Thirty years later, I’m still praying his prayers.

‘We thank You for food and remember the hungry,’

and always, ‘Bless our bodies to Thy service.’

Words that will forever be imprinted on my daily existence,

repeated as muscle memory.

The only time I saw him cry was in a hospital,

head bowed, at his granddaughter’s side, praying,

his voice a complex mixture of desperation and trust;

“Heavenly Father, heal her.”

My hero and my faith so intertwined,

I cannot separate the two.

Slipping Away

Ten thousand three hundred and twenty miles:

the distance between us when you breathed your last, gasping breath,

when the pain, that had wracked your poor body for months, eased.

Three months to be specific.

That’s all the warning God gave us.

Three measly damn months,

and I was gone for every single one of them.

I tell myself it was a blessing that you didn’t suffer longer,

that I didn’t have to see you wasting away.

My heart doesn’t feel like listening to such stupidity, even if it’s true.                          

Thirty-two hours of flying, and a two-hour car ride,

and I stand in our church, where I sat beside you on Sundays,

holding your hand as you tried to make me sit still.

But I’m frozen now, looking at the too thin stranger lying in your coffin.

Did they bring the wrong body?

You don’t look like that,

so gaunt you’re barely skin and bones.

Maybe it’s because you always exuded a white hot force of life,

you were booming laughs and fierce love.

You drew people to you like a magnetic pull.

You were the warmth that kept the cold world at bay,

the perfect mixture of strength and tenderness,

just like a dad is supposed to be.

And you were always so big that I had to stand on tippy toes to hug you.

This shriveled, small body isn’t, can’t be you.

No! It’s some cruel joke someone has played!

Sixty years is just too young.

Doesn’t God know I still needed you?

I sit between my grandmother,

hunched over at the unnaturalness of losing her child,

and my sister, who got three months more of your hugs than I did,

but whose eyes are broken from watching you wither.

Maybe my eyes are just as cracked.

My mind won’t work, so all I know is that my chest feels empty and heavy all at once,

and sharp, stinging tears are shaking from my eyes until they burn.

The air, as thick as concrete, makes me feel like I’m drowning for lack of breath.

I hear the hymns, the preacher’s voice, but the words don’t make sense.

The only things anchoring me are the two hands clinging to mine on either side,

clenched so tight, as though afraid we’ll all just slip away. Just like you.

Letter to Me

To Me,

Don’t listen.

When they tell you to be quiet, boom.

When they tell you pretty is far better

than a passionate, generous heart and a clever mind,

choose to be someone who loves fiercely in the softest of ways,

who has a ferocious, eternally open mind.

When only skin deep, beauty withers and fades,

so build and chisel your inner exquisiteness to last a lifetime.

Don’t believe that conformity is essential for acceptance,

you're deprived of the joy of knowing someone amazing,

with fair weather friends who disappear with a shifting tide.

When they tell you God is dead, believed only by fools,

seek the life-altering force of prayer, and the magnificent comfort of grace.

Never let religion get in the way of your faith.

Love God fervently, zealously, completely unashamed.

Beware of certainty, for fear your mind will become hard and narrow.

Leave room for new ideas and perspectives to enchant you.

Stay away from fights with an unyielding mind,

the only thing that will change is your peace.

Carefully pick the opinions that matter, blatantly ignore the rest.

When they tell you only a relationship makes you whole, laugh,

then prove them wrong by travelling the world all by yourself,

and falling in love with the freedom and the silence.

If they say kindness makes you weak, have the strength to be kind,

that you must hide behind a picture-perfect facade,

be bravely and openly imperfect.

Tell people you love them, even when it's uncomfortable,

even on your darkest and stormiest days when anger rages,

even when it’s a tangled mess of love and hate.

Remember that everyone is flawed, walking our paths blind,

so cut them some slack.

When someone hurts you, forgive,

even when they don’t want your forgiveness.

When you hurt someone, apologize,

even if you have to tear the words from your lips,

even when you’re not sure you were wrong.

Fail. Make mistakes. Don’t be scared of them.

If you don’t fall, you never learn the might of rising.

Don’t always play it safe.

Forever, let part of your soul remain impulsive and wild.

Dream enormous dreams, dreams that will take a lifetime,

then work like hell every day to achieve them.

Allow yourself to cry, to break down, to scream,

and when you’re done, laugh until you can’t breathe.

And most importantly, be thankful for every damn bit of life,

the wonderful and the awful, because it’s yours.