Romney at CPAC
Before I enter history (whose work
is that of an intern, vaguely patronized),
I want to say I’m sorry
for disappointing you, and to express what I’ve learned.
I thought that in my tense delivery,
its desperation so impacted
for so long that it seems, to me,
ease, you would recognize
a shared yearning of the soul: to hold
the foe down, then praise oneself for hurting him
as much as necessary but less than one could.
Admittedly my jokes, etc.,
failed; but isn’t every attempt
to be a regular guy, a white man,
just that, an attempt? Requiring lenience
from those who somehow benefit from it?
I would have spoken had I been allowed,
until my voice was gone, about my faith.
It’s like yours, but more so. To the Father, Son,
and other free-weights of the mind, it adds
a lurid epic, and a peculiarly resolute
denial of death. Trained thus,
I could espouse wholeheartedly whatever
you wished, kiss unborn babies, eat your food.
Because faith, I thought, was faith: your faith
that you in essence are as rich as I
though temporarily embarrassed; the faith
we share, that the wealth
of one is that of all; and mine,
that the barbed wire around factories
I buy in China is there for safety.
Surely, I felt, my faith had earned some slack.
But finally we let each other down.
A parody resents a parody
of itself, as well as the real thing.
Black fascist muslim communist jewish
bankers on welfare are coming
for your guns and other talismans of freedom;
you knew this but I didn’t. Or rather
I do, but we both know I’m safe from them,
and so they don’t exist for me
except as a convenience, like yourselves.
I wish you leaders who can feel your fear.
With them you may, as Kafka once foresaw,
march arm-in-arm, invincible, reclaiming
the cities from the unproductive, singing
full-throatedly while at each other’s throats.
For man is a wolf to man, but howls in chorus.
Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press. His work has appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Representations, Magma (UK), Bateau, Chiron Review, etc. His poems have appeared online in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, DIAGRAM, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire Review, and Mudlark among others. Recent Web publications in Faircloth Review, Camel Saloon, Kalkion. Pollack is an adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University.