October 16, 2016

Ned Balbo


after the second 2016 Presidential debate

Crybully never hits. He hits you back.
He’s got to. You spoke out, and started it.
You’re wrong again, he’s happy to admit.
He’ll tell you so before your next attack,

which he’ll insist is anything you say.
Don’t show them any weakness is his motto.
Crybully’s favorite tactic is bravado.
He punches hard, so get out of his way!

Does he apologize? What do you think?
He spits out answers, fully automatic.
If speech were radio, he’d be the static.
He’ll trip you with a handshake and a wink,

then tell the world you brought it on yourself.
Crybully know no limits except yours.
Are you the vacuum that his power abhors?
He read a book once, tossed it on the shelf,

but still remembers some of what it said—
Something about a big lie, or the rate
at which the gullible may procreate—
(A minute: that’s one more!) And yet his dread,

shameful and dark, is obvious to all—
The whole world’s ganging up on him again!
In victory, he’ll prove the better man
by jailing the vanquished as they fall—

Crybully’s sure of this, and other things:
The whole world envies him, including you.
He’ll touch and grab you if you want him to,
or if you don’t. That’s how it is with kings,

and why Crybully follows you around.
He hears you talking calmly, and he seethes
self-righteously, or roars. Sniffs when he breathes.
He’ll deafen us before you make a sound,

destroy your life and family, burn your town
because you stood your ground and met his gaze.
Crybully even scares his friends these days,
but will he lift a finger when they drown?

Poets Respond
October 16, 2016

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Ned Balbo: “The last debate just got me so angry I had to get it out of my system with this poem.” (website)