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Wednesday, September 08, 2010


by Barbara Lightner

He shouts through the crowd 

like a carny barker. “ Coupons!” 

“Get your coupons right here!” 

Meanwhile, from the proscenium 

of self-importance, another voice 

rises and falls to the rhythms
of certitude and the hiccuping
of a small weeping
in assurance
to those who had come there
to save country and
their incalculable right.

Upon his removal, 

the barker halloos
over his shoulder,
"Discounted religion! 

a dime on the dollar and a baker's dozen, 

no cost to body or soul.”

And the crowd claps and claps 

in a synchronicity 

of ill-informed tenacity-- 

whether for one man 

or the other, 

none knew; 

while the gods above
sigh disconcertedly 

at the perturbation 

of the great 

beck and call below.

Barbara Lightner is a 70-year old shameless agitator, retired. She has been a community organizer, an academic, a dairy farm owner and operator, a journalist, a blogger, a bookstore owner, and a poet. Her poetry has appeared here in The New Verse News, The Table Rock Review, Poesia, Come be a Memoirist, and the anthology of feminist poetry, Letters to the World. Several of her poems are to be set to music by Larry Alan Smith. She is listed in Poets & Writers.