Monday, January 23, 2017



Abby Caplin: The Day America Killed Itself

The day America killed itself,
I watched reruns of What’s My Line,
where Dorothy, Bennet, Martin,
and Arlene sat blindfolded, trying to decide
who the mystery guest was.
I stared at the Worchestershire sauce
in the fridge thinking,
Of course it has expired. I bought it
years ago, a carbon copy
of petroleum in a bottle.

When America killed itself, the talkers
on TV couldn’t figure what happened
to all their fine-tuning,
all the polls that said
But I’ll tell you what happened—
the guy said
the election was rigged,
didn’t say how
exactly, but he let the message hang

like a dagger thrown
between a woman’s legs, and then
he won.
I believe him.
I believe
he rigged it all right.
That’s why you can’t find
reruns of The $64,000 Question,
though Joyce Brothers knew the answer
anyway, knew Archie knocked out
Bobo in the third round.

Now I’m running to the safety deposit box,
got gold rings sewn up
in the lining
of a Patagonia jacket.
Here comes the coup—
sucking on pipelines,
drinking America’s
black blood,
sharpening teeth
on timber, shitting tar.

Billionaires and their daughters
scooping caviar, drowning
Bluefin tuna
in Heinz,
who’ve been give the keys
to the House, courts,
billionaires whose black-booted
drones can show up
and ring your doorbell.

About this poem:
I wrote this poem to express the fear many of us have been feeling. But I don’t want to react from a place of fear. I am inspired and strengthened by the many people coming forward and pledging their resistance to Trumpian demagoguery, with its increased threat to the environment and survival of the planet, women, people of color, health care, the Press, Muslims, Jews, First Nations, LGBTQ communities, science, and simple truth. May we all find one another and stand together against oppression.