22 May 2008

in the campaign spirit

so, despite laura bush's claims that poetry cannot possibly be political -- (which, i suppose, could be true, if what you're reading is my pet goat, but then again, what if the goat had wanted to vote? but that's a whole 'nother rhyming book) -- this poem proves otherwise. with distinction. and hilarity.

i would write more about it, but i have a feeling that there's not much i could say which wouldn't end in a rant or in blathering on and on about my own liberal leanings (you didn't know? that's because i hide those leanings so well. ha.)

so: onward. and cheers to you in this election year. . .

The Real Dick Cheney

~ Jeffrey McDaniel

Know going in -- the lie will one day
fall apart. The beautiful thing is

it doesn't need to last forever,
just until you have a new lie

to move into. The lie's foundation
is less important than its roof. Build

a strong roof with layers of red tape
for insulation, and even the loudest barrage

of facts will sound like a gentle rain,
as you recline beside the fireplace of your lie

sipping mouse blood. Remember:
honesty is the best policy,

but there are other good ones, too.

(published in The Endarkenment by Jeffrey McDaniel. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008).


Talia said...

I enjoy the whole political thing, but not in my poetry. I like them seperate, or at least hidden a little better. We get enough of the political stuff and not nearly enough of the poetry stuff.

So that's what I say.

Rachel said...

I say the fact that this barely-veiled rant is published as poetry makes me want to choke all the editors who keep rejecting me lately. Please, please at least tell me it's published in a political journal or something. One of those published on recycled hemp, you know the kind.

sallylynn said...
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sallylynn said...
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Rachel said...

So, um, yeah, Sally....sorry about my post...I'm ashamed. I suppose I've been having a rough time poetry-wise lately (writer's block, rejection streak, etc.) and I was being jealous and bitter. I didn't mean to litter your blog with my insecurities. Peace offering. :)

sallylynn said...

I understand -- my poems have been solidly rejected several more times than I'm willing to admit lately. :)

But I do think you might like Jeffrey McDaniel's book -- it's far more complex and interesting than maybe my selection, out of context, might reveal. He has a remarkable way with metaphor that's so unlike most anything I've seen.

And, as a devout second-waver (no need to rehash all the feminist stuff here), I'm still a firm believer that the personal is political, that the political is personal, etc., etc., and so, once in a while, I like that kind of directness in poetry -- I do too much talking around the political myself. :) And also, I find the poem pretty funny, even in its seriousness. :)

Rachel said...

Yeah, I just must have been in "a mood" when I responded initially. When I re-read my comment, I was pretty embarrassed. I actually am a big fan of personal/political poetry in some ways...I think the whole "anti-confessional" trend can mean the loss of much great poetry. I'll check out the book, and thanks for the tip.

As for the rejections, I don't know what to do. I keep thinking, maybe I should just forget it for awhile. The problem is, I'm just not good with rejection, and it hampers my ability to keep writing. Ah, well...there are worse things in this world, certainly, than my little writer's block. :)

George said...

It took me a couple days to read this (sorry!), but I'm glad I waited. The time gave me a chance to have some great conversations with our beloved sally lynn before I read it, and that gave the reading a whole new light.

And what did I get out of that waiting, you ask? The only overtly political statement is the title. Change it from "Dick Cheney" to, oh, "That mean ex-girlfriend who broke my heart," and it's no longer political. And while I do believe that politics is ripe for expression and, (pause) ergo, politics has a place in poetry, it struck me as odd that the author chose words that could means anything or anyone and a title that has no room for misinterpretation.

Hmmmm.... :)

Rachel said...

I'm Dick Cheney, the real Dick Cheney, all those other Dick Cheneys are just imitatin' so won't the real Dick Cheney please stand up...please stand up...please stand up [altogether now]

sallylynn said...

ha! i had just thought of that the other day, and now "slim shady" is stuck in my head for the next two weeks...

Rachel said...

Yes, me too...and that's unfortunate. That song was played out the minute they aired it.

Neil Kelly said...

I still can't help coming back to this post and laughing at the nonesense. It's almost like I'm Gollum and this is my precious.

But on a serious note, I really like your poems.

"those cities of the dead
look just like a midwestern ghost town—
blank eyes of boarded-up buildings, one man

playing harmonica in a doorway, bodegas
and laundromats all that’s left
of our once nickel-shine life."

Reminds me of my neighborhood here in Chicago. Around the corner of Fullerton and Western to be exact.