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Saturday, July 14, 2012

We Citizens United

Most of the poems I have written prior to now have addressed personal or spiritual concerns.  But I happen to come from a family with a strong predilection for writing light verse, for better or worse, the most famous practitioner of the craft being my great Aunt Felicia, who secured for herself far more than local fame, based on her too clever rhymes, sometimes in the New Yorker's pages or else published in thin little volumes wryly illustrated by Edward Gorey, that playfully touched on broader social concerns.   So this is my first serious attempt to try my hand at this sort of lighter refrain.

We Citizens United

As the political season
Swings into high gear
It becomes increasingly clear
That we have subjected
Ourselves to a system
Of governance best described 
As a campaign-ocracy
A unique form of
Demotic tyranny
In which we the people
With help from a threadbare
Majority on the Supreme Court
Have effectively denied ourselves
All meaningful resort

Other than the public effrontery
Of two decadent parties
Devoted to brazen pandering
And the ritual choreography
Of an endless electoral sham
Well beyond the endurance
Of any sensible man
How it builds to a crescendo 
As the convention season nears
With the ever more frenzied shake down
Of our leading citizenry
Corporate and individual alike
Only to insure the parties
Continue unabated in power

And thanks to the tortured logic
Of Citizens United
Every year of this perennial
Politicking it now costs more
To vote for leaders more firmly
Committed to doing nothing
But sustaining an endless stream
Of consultants and bagmen 

Ever at the ready to pull
The creaky levers 
Of government bureaucracy
Condemning us to rule
By deadlock and inaction on
The issues that really most matter

Betwixt alternating terms
Of Democrats and Republicans
Each year looms as the most important
Yet never does the outcome
Matter in the least since there's not
A hairsbreadth of difference between
The lot of them
On key issues such as 
Protection of the monied class
The greenhouse gas effect
Insuring our basic
Civil liberties or the increasingly
Frequent assertion of Star Chamber
Powers to advance the interests
This two party state

In the end
I guess it's not such
A light verse at all
But one of saddest
I can ever imagine writing
That a place that once conceived itself
As the last best hope for humanity
Has now positioned itself to be
The very cause of calamity
By virtue of a system of
Governance so purely devoted
To corporate sponsored
Blindness and neglect 

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