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Saturday, November 16, 2013


by Chris O’Carroll

He wasn’t good.  He wasn’t great.
It’s 50 years now since he died.
Weird fantasies proliferate
About who plotted and who lied.

We crave real grandeur.  “Camelot”
Suffices as a substitute.
The romance of who might have shot
Trumps the dull fact of who did shoot.

We did not lose a golden age
Because the sniper found his aim,
But truth is never all the rage;
Myth is a more crowd-pleasing game.

When presidents are rated, he
Ranks as a gilded bantamweight,
More tawdry than he seemed to be.
He wasn’t good.  He wasn’t great.

Chris O’Carroll is a writer and an actor.  On November 22, 1963, he heard the news over the intercom in a Massachusetts junior high school.  Since then, he has published numerous poems in The New Verse News, and also in First Things, Light, The Rotary Dial, Snakeskin, and other print and online journals.