33

One can’t deny your massive influence.
For better or for worse, we recognize
The country’s fractures—maps contiguous
No more—Divided States you now preside
Over, our Person of Last Year. In Time’s
Award, you heard prestige; they said portentous,
As in an omen of a sundering time’s
Reward. This wasn’t choosing The Apprentice.
And now we find that Time proved out by time
In its contention: Trump expounds communion
Through power, freedom, and an end to crime,
Yet traps us all, in theft of nation’s union.
Most Powerful may give you pride to wear,
But rupture’s burden is now yours to bear.

—ERP, LDS

21

Advice of counsel, going back, was blind
Trust, separating interests, letting those
Mundane details string us along, a kind
Of arm’s-length deal, an ignorance we chose.
The trades were little with us, politics
Synonymous with jock itch, drop kicks, dog
Ticks dog—not even conflicts, just cheap tricks
We had to buy, or sell, or play along.
Was it a secret yen, held widely if
Not well, that someone would arrive to claim
A closing of the unbridgeable rift,
A border wall torn down, and tongues untamed?
His pact with us would be a desperate lust
For lying, flying blind our blinding trust.
—IC

15

The symptoms start as stomach disagreeing
With heart, or muscles losing circulation
Where once the blood was red, a palpitation
The eyes—or is it brain?—a narrowed seeing,
And then a fever mounts, delusion speaks
In rash outbursts, the nervous limbs go hot
Or cold, base motor functions failing, not
Under control of mind. State organs seize.
We dreamed the body politic as system,
Created by exceptional solution,
And granted deep immune response to errors
Genetic to all empire—we could list them!—
But now we dream of mortal dissolution,
And ask, is this old age, or some new terror?
—IC

13

The sun sets on a nation most divided,
The lines within our Senate clearly drawn.
One Justice for the High Court is decided,
Another parlous presidential pawn.
In a time of politics played to extremes,
Partisan words and actions polarize.
The new recruits to elitist regimes,
Contribute to Democracy’s demise.
The finished slate speaks for United States,
Yet like them, we are still far from united.
The nuclear option looms over debates,
For citizens and Senate are ignited.
While blue and red, and left and right, compete,
America is who will feel defeat.

HM, SH, NT

12

A dire election follows dire election;
Extremest choice extremist justice chooses.
If populism yields elite selection,
Our human rights must yield to rightist values.
A country split but narrowly toward blue
Now courts supreme decisions redder still;
The voters’ will has voted in a crew
Who vote by corporate checkbooks, not by will.
By making judges partisans of power,
We sell our halls of justice for a pittance;
If Neil will kneel before our leader’s hour,
What force will force a check on our balance?
Two wrong choices cannot make a right,
Though choices rightward surely wrong our plight.
—PTL, ERP, LDS

11

This lineup change may make a “yuuge” shift,
Keep Donald up to bat for future swings.
To some it will be home run–others, miss–
A friendly court so close, he sees its stitching.
Ted Cruz, the bleachers play, is too far out;
The choices now all come from central casting.
And even here, Trump looks for kith to kin,
Though narrow picks’ effects may well be lasting.
Today we meet the problems yet to come,
Before the pitch, there’s outrage in the stands.
The wind-up done, the crowd begins to hum:
Will this be curve, or fast one, from small hands?
A knuckleball whose path cannot be guessed,
Arrives at home, by voters’ rooting blessed.
—SF, GSU