In honor of Primary Season, which launched with a bang last night in Iowa, VerseDay today offers a poem about the campaign trail, submitted by reader and author Mary Hamrick.
â€œStrange how words can be true, and yet have no truth in them.â€
â€“We Are Not Alone. Performer, Paul Muni. Warner Bros. film, 1939.
Politics is puffing like a steam engine.
It needs a serape to keep it warm.
It needs a little makeup on bright days
to hide the lines of wear.
Politics has lost its milk teeth;
nasty-nice, the bite is smart
and at times menacing: flip-flop.
Slogans (grapes with teeth)
smoke and ambush. Words,
so simple, evangelize:
they mope around in your head
like playfellows for your mind.
Under the hot stage lights,
Nixon and Kennedy knew
that politics was a game of beauty:
a black and white picture show.
Mingling here and there,
a naughty struggle for attention
is drunk with ritualâ€“a geography of touch:
babies bubble-up on shoulders, arms are extended
as fingers crawl to pump a strangerâ€™s hand.
Here in the south, political fellows
skedaddle through the day
wearing coconut cream trousers
and sipping sweet tea
through lion skin straws.
A politicianâ€™s washboard smile
stays with you like a picture post card.
Sitting mighty close,
we listen to magnolia words
between succulent morsels of the colonelâ€™s chicken.
Coarse, dark-red spines jab at sleeping dogs
as sugary charm clings in cigar-chewing rooms.
>From moonshine to bottled water, smothered-slick,
politics is blooming with a toothy grin
and the playful pause of a Texas two-step.
Mary Hamrick was born in New York and moved to Florida when she was a young girl. Her writing often reflects the contrast between her Northern and Southern upbringing. Current and forthcoming publications include Arabesques Press, Architecture Ink, Cezanneâ€™s Carrot, Howling Dog Press (OMEGA 6), On the Page Magazine, Pemmican, Poetry Repair Shop, Poems Niederngasse, Potomac Review, Scrivenerâ€™s Pen, Tattoo Highway, The Barricade, The Binnacle, The Subway Chronicles and others.
“Campaigning” was previously published in The Barricade.