“Donald Trump is alive and well,” I tweet:
his consciousness ensouled, his self intact;
his electric embodied being able to act
through his body’s marvelous machine: to eat,
to see, to breath, to speak. His heart? To beat.
His appetites are those a dead man lacks:
McDonald’s lunch, a lower income tax:
Hereby commend to you, O Lord, through the fleet
swing of the autumn sun across the sky,
quadrennial November’s bare-branched swoon,
this declaration: we have claimed a state
of still existing, having not had to die,
nor disappear, nor leave, nor settle soon
for this early ending coming yet too late.
As an empirical matter, democracy,
hallowed by usage and consecrated by time,
has never turned up, hastily dusted with lime
in a hole, shot in the back as it tried to flee
its own cackling imago, autocracy:
yes, some serene republics have declined,
but there their franchise was mere pantomime;
no well-begged question but can burst to be
its own best answer; the universe ordains
that if a country goes to shit, it must
be bad, its laws a sham, its votes a lie,
enraptured by its petty Charlemagnes,
pre-captured by its lack of civic trust:
it doesn’t happen; thus in this essay, I
Are the muppets biased to the left? Of course. That was
the point of Sesame Street, as I discuss:
provocateurs like Snuffleupagus
preach Maoist leveling while Ernie does
his LGBTQI-best to shove
both his and dear Bert’s sinful “love is love”
anti-Judeo-Christian cant at us,
telling mere children, “Mom and Dad are sus.”
Hashem forfend! Miss Piggy may be trans,
sharing Kermit’s bathroom and his bed;
Statler and Waldorf swooned for Hamilton;
Big Bird’s Khmer cabal now favors bans
on “racist” speech; The Count is dead
by firing squad for saying one is one.
Like, you’ll go: “Person, woman, man
camera, TV.” So they say,
“Could you repeat that?” Someday
the words won’t come; your lips will fan
the toaster-oven air; you’ll say, “Woman?
TV? Radio? Opera? Fannie Mae?
Elephant? Alligator? Matinee?
Mother? Birthday boy? Afghanistan?”
If you get it in order you get extra points,
although they say no one gets it in order, but for me
it’s easy. Nevertheless I sometimes fear
that each word unremembered thus unjoints
its ordered re-remembering. Words flee
the fit mind. The mouth speaks. I’m here.
I was one of one hundred and fifty-three
signers, and am a veteran of the Twitter
wars; many good men, and brave, now litter
the twilight screens; they yearned to live as free
Americans: now their souls flee
the quiet fields; their blue checks glitter
amongst the angels: absent God’s transmitters
of this dream: that we might disagree
about how many Jews died in the camps
or whether white folk are permitted words
that black folk use between themselves without
the ad hominem and vitriol that stamp
out freedom, turn men into beasts, mere herds
of cows denied their human birthright: clout.
Our cultural institutions now must face
a trial unlike any faced before:
@litboner69 called me a bore;
a sophomore undergrad said that my race
informed my sense of self, and worth, and place;
they didn’t put my book in the front of the store;
they added diaspora studies to the core
curriculum; now my promotion case
is held up with the provost just because
I hold a few unorthodox views:
that Blacks are more athletic by design;
true women lack men’s moral flaws;
Arabs just aren’t quite as smart as Jews.
For this you’re telling me I should resign?
If in a given sample size of N
a growing portion comes back positive,
you must yet understand that most will live
and those who die just once can’t die again;
if, in other words, leads thus to then;
it’s simple logic; I could for instance give
more tests, but aren’t outcomes causative?
We are not abstract models; we are men.
Have I been feeling slightly ill for days?
Will this cough persist, or disappear?
These are questions of the spirit. Science wills
its best conclusions into being; haz-
y reason is a sickness too, and fear,
not viral fever, clouds the mind and kills.
I don’t believe it just because it’s true.
An interim beyond a certain length
of time attenuates the tensile strength
of a claim; our years on earth, though brief and few
against history’s vast, impersonal view,
reduce the truth each rainy spring by a tenth:
T-zero times (one minus point one) to the Nth.
It’s simple math. There’s nothing you can do.
Had you told me right away, or yet
mentioned it in 1999,
or even yesterday, I would achieve
true belief, quite against any threat
to my politics’ necessary bottom line.
Your deadline’s passed, alas. I disbelieve.
on celebrating Passover via videoconference
The Midrash tells us there are two Jeru-
salems, but there are three: one unequal
city still on earth, and then a sequel
made of our mitzvot, beyond the domed blue
tent of heaven; the third has very few
of the tangled modern, ancient, and medieval
attributes of either; it’s only people
separated not by choice, but by a new
sickness—each trying from the dining room
or fire escape, the garden or the narrow bed,
to make the seder with their telephonic friends;
while outside the pear trees bloom
and bless even the dying, and even the dead,
and the hearts God breaks, and breaks, and mends.
for Matt Christman
The liberatory quality of not knowing
shit is quite honestly the strangest bit
of living indoors in hopes of avoiding it.
By it, I mean the damp and fungal growing
sense that the wheel of time, far from slowing
has slipped the axle. Calm is counterfeit
joy; real happiness is fear knit
together with the inevitability of going
anyway: the green ruined future
made beautiful by all the strange and new
life bursting from the cracked curbs and stairs,
effervescent blood from a torn suture
strikes the sidewalk where once weeds grew
and turns to flowers in the now-clear air.