Fall 2017 (Volume 21, Issue I)
WATCHING THE DEBATE, THINKING, “HAVE THEY READ LEAVES OF GRASS?”
For Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Wasn’t it JFK who said
we get the kind of democracy
our humor deserves?
If not him, then some great American
who lived long ago, perhaps
even before Kennedy and public relations,
before FDA regulations were needed,
before television provided the self-
conscious ten pounds and declared
the winner the biggest schmoozer.
Let’s jump in a patriotic time machine
and not fall to jingoism,
let’s remove the –ism, leave ourselves
with jingo, a funny word that warrants
a different meaning.
Let’s ask Walt what he thinks.
He’s been lying face down in the grave
too long and wishes to look up
at the Goodyear Blimp.
He’s never seen it,
and the fantasy of the night
goes something like CNN asking Walt,
“Mr. Whitman, would you like to moderate
tonight’s super-debate for an audience of 100 million?”
And Walt says, “Sure thing.”
But when it’s about time for the candidates
to square off, he’s nowhere to be found,
just lying on his back in Camden
watching the Goodyear Blimp
make its way north with bright letters
running across the starless American sky…
“…Whitman moderates…Tonight at 9 on CNN.”
It’s time to broadcast live to the American people,
and there’s no cue for the candidates.
The vacant stage is refreshing.
The silence is nice,
as Whitman turns over
to face the democratic ground.