Such a self-destructive talent
is a rarity on earth.
What heroic liquidation
of the gifts of chance and birth!
Could another heir to millions
have corralled the tricky skills
he expressed erecting towers
on fat piles of unpaid bills?
Who raised armies of attorneys
twisting laws to break his fall,
then retreated from his failures
like a Roman leaving Gaul?
Smartly stashing spoils of combat,
filing bankruptcy four times,
he redeemed his reputation
while committing legal crimes.
Such swashbuckling, bold bravado
took him nearly to the peak.
Cheering hordes adored their leader.
How they loved to hear him speak!
But his toxic mouth undid him,
spewing sexist, racist lies,
for what won his nomination
soon conspired to lose the prize.
And the world gasped in amazement
at this fierce, pig-headed horse,
who could race himself to pasture
while he seemed to run the course.
Orel Protopopescu won the Oberon poetry prize in 2010 and has a commended poem in the 2016 Second Light Live competition, to be published in November. What Remains, her chapbook, appeared in 2011. Thelonious Mouse, her fourth picture book, won a Crystal Kite, 2012, from SCBWI. A Thousand, Peaks, Poems from China (with Siyu Liu) was selected for the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age list. A Word’s a Bird, her animated, bilingual (English/French) poetry book for iPad, was on SLJ’s list of ten best children’s apps, 2013. Her poetry has appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, Oberon, Poetry Bay, Light, Lighten Up Online, TheNewVerse.News and other reviews and anthologies. She teaches at the Walt Whitman Birthplace, Huntington Station, New York.