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Sunday, May 06, 2007


by Joe Paddock

Things coming in on him now,
one by one, and see him up there,

inflated and rising.
See him, Icarus Bush, the son,
the tiniest speck ascending
the heavens. In love with
the sun, stayin’ the course,
making his run at the sun.

Your not-so-distant forebears, Icarus, including
your Daedalas daddy, who so cunningly crafted
the House of Bush, crafted as well for you,
son Icarus Dubya, a fine set of wings
on which to soar: everywhere
on the inside track, always money
and connections to save
your foolish young ass, governor
of the Big Hat, and yes,
then the Pres, most powerful man
on this our planet. But strange, Icarus,
just not enough for you,
our oil-worshipping, hell-roaring
Commander in Chief, anointed,
you suggest, by God himself,
and soaring now
fast toward Ol’ Sol.

It’s said your daddy warned you, Icarus Bush,
mutedly to be sure, as the aging father must,
warned you:

“Don’t fly too high, Son.
It’s only wax that binds
your wings. It could melt when--”

“Pshaw! Daddy. You just give a watch at me.
I have a mandate to fly free,
and I’m goin’ t’ use it. Watch meeeeee!
I’m goin’ t’ do it. No matter what.
I’m the big change
on the wing!”
He’s way up there now, flyin’
free on his mandate,
our American eagle
and the rest of us with him,
barely a speck against the sun,
feathers beginning now
to singe and smoke.

Almost to the sun!

Joe Paddock is a poet, oral historian, and environmental writer. He has been a Regional Poet for Southwestern Minnesota, a poet-in-residence for Minnesota Public Radio at Worthington, and has taught in the Creative Writing Department of the University of Minnesota. His books of prose include Soil and Survival (Sierra Club Books) and Keeper of the Wild (Minnesota Historical Society Press). His books of poetry include Handful of Thunder (Anvil Press), Earth Tongues (Milkweed Editions), Boars’ Dance (Holy Cow! Press), and A Sort of Honey (Red Dragonfly Press). For his poetry he has received the Lakes and Prairies Award of Milkweed Editions and the Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction.