Friday, January 20, 2017

The New Order: A Poem for the Inauguration, with the Sound Turned Off

The New Order

By David Hartley Mark

I am sitting here watching President Trump’s Inaugural Speech
Only with the sound turned off
Which doesn’t really detract from it very much
As he scowls, waves his arms, and makes that odd
Circular sign with his thumb-and-forefinger
As I remember from the old-time beer commercials
Schlitz or Budweiser or

I am sitting on my couch
Riley the Doberman-Boxer is at my feet
Looking worried
As he always does
While Kirby the Shih Tzu
Lies in his little bed
By the subwoofer
And rests his head on the edge
Also looking worried
Because that’s how his face goes

“You have good cause to worry, Boys,”
I tell them

Only Rowdy, the Tiny Yoodle
(That’s Yorkie-Poodle)
Isn’t worried;
He bounces
And jumps
From armchair
To sofa
To floor
Bringing me his Squeezy Ball
And rolling it
Into my thigh
To prod and torture me
Into throwing it,
And Again


“Because this is a game
We all can enjoy,
Dave,” he says

“What about
Trump?” I ask him.

“Trump who?” he says,
“Throw the ball!”

The door opens
And in come
Phillis Wheatley,
And Tecumseh—
I invite them to sit
Next to me
On the couch.

Trump continues fulminating;
I can see spittle flying from his mouth
In the brisk January DC air

“This is not my fault,”
Says the Admiral of the Ocean Sea.

“You’re a liar!”
I tell him.
“You’re right,”
He answers, sheepishly,
“I never should have come;
I should have stayed in Spain,
Or, perhaps, in Portugal.
Had I remained in Genoa,
I might have stayed a weaver….”

Phillis shivers beneath the air conditioning,
And I go to fetch her a sweater.

“Will General Sir Washington be speaking, Mr. David?”
She asks, giving me a shy smile,
“And will my beloved Scipio Moorhead
Be painting this illustrious scene?”

I hug her: her shoulders are so thin,
I wonder at her massive mind,
So capable of producing prodigious poetry,
As she closes her eyes, as if in a spell,
And chants:

“Adored for ever be the God unseen,
“Which round the sun revolves this vast machine,
“Though to His eye its mass a point appears:
“Adored the God that whirls surrounding spheres….”

Finally, Tecumseh spoke, great Chieftain of the Shawnee,
While frowning and gazing at the image of Trump on the screen:

“I see none of my People there present: who is this man?
Does he fear to see our people in his Council?
Hear me! Brothers: we all belong to one family:
We are all children of the Great Spirit; we walk in the same path….My people wish for peace; the red men all wish for peace:
But where this White Man is, there is no peace for them….”

I could see that President Trump was done, and was departing the
Podium, surrounded by Security;
From afar, I could see the smoke of protesters,
And I watched as he climbed into a black armored limousine.

There was nothing left for me; my visitors, seeing nothing for them, had vanished.
God save these United States of America, I thought.

I was done.
All was done.