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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


by David Southward

Son, you must learn to take a side
and cling to it with stubborn pride.
Your options are narrowed down to two.
Here’s a map: red state or blue?

Whichever one you pick, have fun
demolishing the other one.
Proclaim its leadership unfit;
its policies, a load of shit;
its followers, Neanderthals.
Don’t be timid.  This takes balls!

If by chance the other team
should rise in popular esteem,
insist their views are really yours
repackaged in new metaphors.
Since anything you say must be
reported on objectively,
it’s rhetoric that rules the roost.
“Truth” is any mass-produced
opinion on the internet.
And if you should misspeak?  No sweat.
The stupidest thing a man could say
can be re-spun, so spin away!

If your team drops the ball, take heart:
Employ the finger-pointing art
to slyly redirect the blame
and start a he-said she-said game.                        
When all else fails, your last resort                        
is to cry foul before the court.
And if there’s no hope in the law,
appoint a judge to find its flaw.
Pull the judicial switcheroo
and make our system work for you!

There’s just one rule you must abide:
NEVER give the other side
a speck of credit for being right.                            
It shows you’ve given up the fight.

And should your children scratch their heads
at all this dog-eat-dog bloodshed,
teach them why nobody gets along:
The other side is always wrong.

David Southward teaches in the Honors College at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  His poetry has appeared in The New Verse News and is forthcoming in The Lyric.