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  • It's cold, but they're out there

    I'm drinking coconut juice on election night,
    the entire country roused from slumber
    for this wild, wide-eyed party into brief vigilance
    making the one choice they have been told
    is theirs to make. I want to punch through
    the brick wall on my right with my writing hand,
    scatter the tension from the air on my left. Not that
    anyone remembers or has time for Shelley's
    long-ago comment on the "true legislators"

    but I wish I could write
    just one poem
    that would soften the way
    every hope in this country has clenched
    like fists around names on a ballot

    it's not the results that will ruin us,
    one way or another
    it's that clenching,

    the tightness
    felt in every beer-chugging throat tonight
    that we have somehow deemed necessary.
    the constant danger we feel when defense budgets come up, that pressure
    of buying into talking heads that would be silenced
    if you asked them what the American people
    lived for, rather than what they feared.

    a residue, perhaps, of the force pushing youthful heads
    down over rows of desks, to study the very history books
    that fold beautiful human messes into tidy printed print
    in order to teach us our rights
    but not what they're actually for,
    or how to use them…

    or - if politics is to be our mythology - how about
    the critical tension that's condemned Icarus
    and forgotten Prometheus? For in the
    electrical powered night there is a glow we've
    been missing for years, and waking it up
    once per every four is scarce compensation...

    as I write, all eyes may be glued to television screens
    but I'll be watching the night
    for fireflies
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