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Sunday, July 28, 2019


by Martin H. Levinson

is a contrapuntal composition in
which a short argument or fight,
like the one we had on Wednesday
over the meaning of Mueller’s
testimony as to who will get to
govern this great nation that
wasn’t so great for blacks,
women, and gays when I was
growing up in the fifties on
a tree-shaded block close to
Ebbets Field, home of the
Brooklyn Dodgers, a team that
left the borough of churches and
underdogs to watch the McCarthy
hearings on television where a
senator who saw Reds under every
bed got his comeuppance but not
before we took cover under our
desks at school so we wouldn’t
die when the Russians dropped
nuclear bombs on New York City
where short arguments or fights
didn’t stop us from to thinking it

was worse during the Civil War
when instead of quarreling on cable
and social media about whether you
can indict a sitting president or what
constitutes fake news, people were
killing each other, blowing up bridges,
and burning down Atlanta where the
traffic these days makes getting from
one end of town to another a nightmare
in our nation’s history that seems to

some to be coming to an end because
even if a new president is elected the
damage to civil discourse and shared
norms has been so eroded that only
poetry and a knowledge that America
has weathered other crises in its past
will be able to save us, but who these
days is writing poetry or knows much
about our nation’s past?

Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, PEN America, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published ten books and numerous articles and poems. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, New York.