“Elexxxion” by John Paul Davis

John Paul Davis


It’s election time again. It feels like the bruises
from the last one haven’t finished healing.
I mean that metaphorically; I’m not actually
healing from the last election, just walking
around rearranging matter on the earth’s surface
as if nothing was wrong at all while inside
I’m aching from trying to bridge the gap
between the promises my country
made me & what it actually delivered.
It’s a very large gap. Some might call it a chasm
or a canyon or a crevasse in honor
of the glaciers all melting. While I hang here
in between where we should be & where we are
holding the two together, candidates
use me for a bridge, walking across my arms
in their shoes that cost more than I make
in a pay period. The liberals are careful
not to step on my head; the conservatives
assume if I didn’t want to be stepped
on I wouldn’t be hanging here. The two sides pull
apart & the capitalists call this growth.
The tech companies collect data
from the percussion of my popping joints & the twang
of my stretching tendons. They can predict
how much more I will take, measured in thumbs-up
icons. All of the candidates agree we should bumble
on down to a younger republic and meddle in their election,
maybe flash our guns around & show off our drones
until the dictator who will let us taste their sweet sweet
oil wins. All of the candidates agree the best way
to raise a market is to let it eat whatever it wants
& use everyplace for its toilet & that freedom
means cleaning up after it forever. Ok, there’s one
who says maybe there’s a better way but all the editorials
say he’s not electable. We send our soldiers
to other countries to help their unelectables,
but, here, we pin lies to their backs like kick me
signs; we make looping memes out of them
then decades later name a Monday after them, quote
them in speeches, make out in the shadows of their statues.

from Poets Respond
March 3, 2019


John Paul Davis: “This is a response to election season kicking off but also the way in which, 21 months before the election we are already getting opinion pieces about ‘electability.’ At the same time pretty much everyone is championing us helping Venezuela’s unelected president take power. The only candidate unwilling to do that is getting called unelectable because of it.” (web)

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