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Sunday, November 29, 2009


by George Held

The old football coach tells the radio host,
“It’s great we’ll have a night game
in the NFL on Thanksgiving this year.
Previously we just had the two early games.
Now we'll have something to watch
After we eat the turkey.”

Now, that’s something to be thankful for,
Like the news we’ll be out of Afghanistan
By 2017. Of course, that “we”
Won’t include the thousands of war dead
And the thousands who’ll die without health care.

The formula is dazzle ’em with football
And ignore ’em on ending the war
And providing universal healthcare
And reducing carbon emissions,
And pray the market won’t tank.

“We cower together to ask the Lord’s blessing,”
The old hymn goes. “He chastens and hastens
To make His will known.” Can his will
Include a gluttonous assault on factory
Farmed turkeys while the Lions mew on TV?

The first whites to give thanks in “The New
World” fasted a day or two before feasting.
Today only the poor fast and without choice
While gluttony produces obese, diabetic cattle
On two hooves throughout the land.

In the land of the fat, a slender black man
Will be king. Like other monarchs, he will
Gird his loins for war, grant favors to the rich,
And soothe the poor with resonant rhetoric.
Yea, we are thankful for him: he’s not the king
We had last year. Pass the gravy, please.

George Held has collected many of his New Verse News poems in The News Today.