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“In the Shadow of Mount Rushmore” & Other Poems

677 words

In the Shadow of Mount Rushmore

Though forever asleep,
We endeavor to keep
Steady footing on treadmills
With our noses to grindstones.

If by chance we awake
In the morning, we’ll take
All our rubbish to landfills
Where we’ll forage for rhinestones

In the challenging landscape
Where there’s many a man-shape
On the sculpted black hill.
The redoubtable will

Of the figures portrayed
Is beginning to fade
In this curious time
Where success is a crime.


Left-Right, Left-Right

We sit down in our seats at the front of the bus
With no right but to say, It has always been thus.
We maintain our composure with feet to the fire
While committed conservatives preach to the choir.

All the coins that we spend read IN GOD DO WE TRUST
While the dubious heartland is gilded with rust.
And the liberal forces, like lethal infections,
Will admit of no easily managed corrections,

For the force of bad habits inhabits our minds
Up until we move quickly to lower the blinds
On invasive afflictions that ruin the heart
And enable the Devil’s nefarious art.

To the drumbeat of constant political cant
From the publishers lacking the mind of an ant,
We will turn a deaf ear insofar as we can,
But despise the idea and also the man.


Notice to Outsiders

We served them dinner at our lavish table,
And we have learned that with barbarians
A civil reciprocity’s mere fable—
Just ask the many staid librarians

Whose books were burned for no compelling reason
Except that texts therein exposed the horde
For what they were. High culture lives a season,
And then is overtaken by a sword

That shows no mercy to the steady man
Whose only purpose is to live a life
With something like the semblance of a plan,
Beyond the reach of some assassin’s knife.

Compassion is our creed, goodwill our word,
But all these lofty notions come to grief
When blanket toleration proves absurd,
As enemies disable our belief

In gentle ways. The good old boys that we
Grew up with have it figured out just fine:
Be faithful to your own community
And honor every NO TRESPASSING sign.


Caveat Emptor

The butcher puts his thumb upon the scale,
The tavern-keeper waters down his ale,
The money-changer shaves the golden coins,
And harlots sell their syphilitic loins.

So let the prudent buyer then beware:
Elections are no less a country fair
Where every rube pays money, takes his chances,
And marries pocket-thieves with whom he dances.

This is the method of our ruling class
That deems each one of us a useful ass
Predestined to endure a load of crap
While they make merry, lounging in the lap

Of luxury on Mt. Olympus. Let
Them shiver just for once, and not forget
The blinded trusting beasts that put them there,
And let them think about the knaves who dare

To question their existence. Nothing’s right
That isn’t sometimes wrong. The coming night
Will show this when there’s nothing to uphold
And morning inches forward, drear and cold.


Raw Meat

A wolf is willing to lie down with sheep,
But even sheep, as stupid as they are,
Will not so lightly lay themselves to sleep
In range of Nature’s lupine scimitar.

In Asia there are several kinds of tigers,
Enough to keep an herbivore alert
To ordinary life-expunging rigors
That naturally arise from jungle dirt.

The course of evolution has ordained
A certain balance in the native fauna,
But theories such as this have not explained
Why sudden death should ever be a trauma

For well-adjusted members of a flock
That have no expectation but to die
According to a butcher’s bloody clock.
The duly slaughtered seldom wonder why

Another beast had not stood in its place,
And that inane discussion’s over now,
Because this world allows but little space
For peaceful kingdoms or the holy cow.

In full compliance with primordial laws,
A sated wolf will sit and lick its paws;
Moreover, there’s a reason and a cause
For carnivores that boast effective jaws.


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