Two Notes on the Election

1. I keep hearing about "the real America," which is presumably different from the fake America of which I am indubitably a part. You know, until this phrase started showing up in right-wing discourse I was inclined to hear Obama's talk of unity and coming together as campaign rhetoric; but now I see that it marks a real difference. The right is exclusionist, liberals inclusive by instinct, if not always in practice. Here's just one example, from a bush-league congressman. Update: Only Real Americans® should be allowed to vote. 2. I don't expect the McCain campaign to make the distinction, but there is a difference between criticizing someone's approach to stem cell research or one's health care plan and making darkly portentous statements about someone's character that suggest the other guy is not a true American (see above). It would be nice if the news media enforced this simple distinction in the name of intellectual honesty.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

2 thoughts on “Two Notes on the Election”


    The consequence for the gods
    with us as armature

    is how to get their passion
    for black and white back

    out of a colored world
    of suffering pastels

    and muffled patient
    crimes against

    reality alone
    is that how they do us

    I feel sorry for them briefly
    but how else leap across

    from thinking dogs
    to speaking to gods again?

  2. we — my mom and pop and seven kids — moved to dallas, texas in 1948 from niagara falls, new york
    when i was eleven going into the sixth grade at our lady of perpetual help gradeschool nr love field.
    those were years that began my experience with right wing nuts and where senator joe mccarthy
    had a great influence. anything bad could be subsumed under the labels of commie, pinko, fellow-traveler. that was a so called ‘real’ america for a certain majority and prepared the ground to murder a president in 1963 in november.
    here is apple tree in november a poem of mine.


    1. What was finished, celebrated is almost finished again. My life is your story.

    Your story a submarine skin envelope holding my story in worlds, walls dividing

    my story, your life. The where’s and when’s keep turning on a spinning plate half-dipping into the Pacific Ocean and we on this tilting/raked stage where great ships

    foundered with their great sentences of life and death—unfinished symphonies for the future out there that is our audience and who’ve driven-in to watch thinking that they

    today have cast-off the overcoat that stifled thought for us, not realizing that thought

    was the marriage of these rocks of experience this broken glass these diamonds in

    exciting shapes the rising sun fallen where the rainbows arch over beehives.

    2. Ugly is just a sharp paradigm shift. Praise for a red tractor. Dancing for chump change. Death an epistemological rupture.

    Between lust and first folly is misspoken weeping. Ice skater on the glass of love.

    Apple hooking into taste as it pours from the roofs of mouths.

    I’m hitched to a string,

    the shape of a heart. If I pull it or yank it, it comes apart. My past fell apart, it fell on the

    floor. Do nothing, be smart, you’ll hollow your heart. Go to the end, jump in, take a

    swim around your island. You’ll learn that the noose comes from within.

    On an island

    in the Bay—tears, anger, snot, spit; born, unborn: love, pre-intentionalist, is a soft

    sunrise. Twitching. A covenant drifting. The dead are among us. Tactile interface of

    memory: the dead are a lifetime buried in every moment. Baghdad heart, brick-red, done

    in the antique style of rooted standards, outlaw blues, kiss of troubles. Is it worth it? In

    the crosswalk on Oak Street near Gough (rimes with cough) where the red and dusky

    San Francisco night before the dark looks upward for birds flying south from Canada the

    earth is a body of interconnectedness. Life’s a daily scavenger hunt as the helicopter pushing air down lifts and the shiny lacquer of a left-out lawnmower partners seven little

    boy and girl pirates at the toy red plastic barn offering evening-pardon from bay wharf

    to a barn owl with tufted ears north over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sonoma County and

    Bartlett pears, Gravenstein apples, Blue Lake green beans, new squash. Memories to come lemon green of the young dad in sandals on a bike with his kid laughing. Their

    names are Joe and Julian who’s lost sandal, blowsy as jimson weed, was found again.

    Clemency, concord, representation of peace. Although in this old book the one of our lives everyday has a scream in it, mental garbage but not every syllable for misery. The

    bacteria of emotions are domed spires, sample rooms and surrogate rumors that saunter, propagate invective, treasure, warning saddling ships of joy on angry hooves.

    Strange shapes appear, macular degeneration, summer youth play-out, bumpkin, yokels, book clerks, truck drivers, anxiety to alienation, old chestnuts, aggregations of barnacles

    force allusions, disassemble adolescent abstractions flipside to windows on hell with

    bell-bottomed deep passages, bright chambers. Pulpy earth curdles its muscle dandling

    rose red morning. Ethics reason a new bed, authorized desire, enzymes’ unction for the day’s comma is the crossover moment that says: “Take me, give me, send me away.” A

    Mexican mango with champagne flesh light as a feather fluttering like ash once awkward and now terrible. We are fish in a net where roses of soot silt down into a lake of sleep. A woman came up to the edge. Pilgrims knelt to each other. Fiction can’t erase the teeth marks. Salmon pink, a slice of tomato, annihilated rendezvous-silkiness. Picnic. Drip pan. An unknown subtext beckons tumult in lavender flames. Enchantment: a dark speaking through a megaphone to this woman who bites her hair and code-breaking the gates of dreams that quench beauty red as blood, soft as cream. Light is amber, lantern-lit, catenulated halos drifting over riptides toward dawn gloaming. Surf is a pale tan woman, a green silver surging, a blue yellow renunciation. “Wkhah” “Wkhah” says the wind in the mind. This is action’s rose with green streaks of diagonal light igniting the garden in Tumbletown. Stardust a diminishing gusher of milk as it pinkens becomes a slight wicker coracle. The scar of full daylight has you crawl some days and boil each third. The old Queen Grandmother rages. Baby hummingbirds long for the cap and cowl

    of a trumpet bloom. Slippery bridge this silver fire and blueberry cream: these are lost lessons and an inner journey where deer in a protected park flood the experiment’s unity.

    Slowly. Glow. Earth jimjams a jungle under diamond skies as long-nailed dogs cut bark, tree rats scurry in canopies and ungrounded creation sticks hard red grease into fault lines, a welter of cherry-wood, linen, grass. Then rain. Guts erupt with reason, choices, the trigger of harmony, of Edens envisioned, never actualized, echoing gunk, churning and gurgling hope.

    Memories, notes, glints, glances, baroque voices that carry love, sorrow, dancing images into the evenings of tall reeds that stand in moving waters sinking with the waters into the soil absorbed, evaporated to crust to dust that under later rains give over to damp earth ripening with memories that come from whatever life will press upward for the death ship for new sowing.

    3. Telephone call then a summary a sea change, something more masochistic than divine.

    Playground happenings, pals, thin, tough, jittering with velocity, high horses: they are scattered and buoyed by discipline, some say a high art whose escutcheon has low pay.

    4. The wheel is round and childhood desire turns life’s wheels, these large hoops, propelling them with sticks under the tall park elm trees. Movement of wheels.

    Everyone there is here now within you and all of your kin and all of your kith are here now and it will take a lifetime to flower and to fly and to sail this sea of thickening light. Room-tone, mouth-feel, a reordering of parts, rationing of emotions: I hear voices: they live here now without forgetting the way back under the surface of consciousness, the bungled aspirations, of leprosy as a model, and grim ire. Life pushes, photography wins over time, and over the mind a brown shale. This is November.

    © Edward Mycue

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