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Wednesday, December 18, 2019


by Orel Protopopescu

To the tune of "I'm Your Man" with apologies to Leonard Cohen

If he needs a liar
They’ll say anything he wants them to
And when his pants catch fire as they do
They’ll push his point of view
When he tries to sell his corporate brand and
When he needs to keep an aide or witness
Off the stand
He’s their man

If they ask for players
He won’t run onto the field for them
But when he needs naysayers
There is nobody they won’t condemn
If he’s got remittances to hide
Or when he wants to take us for a ride
He knows he can
He’s their man

Ah, the truth’s too bright
And the noose too tight
The world can’t go to sleep
While he’s making good on his vows to the hood
In Moscow where his debts run deep.

Ah, but no one ever got a country back
By abandoning the race
While he smirks for the cameras with a blade in his sheath
Or howls at his rallies like a dog in heat
Or he claws through our laws while we’re gnashing our teeth
And tells his base (so base!)
I’m your man

And if we lose our way along this road
They’ll let him steer for us
And as he adds more carbon to our load
They’ll let him crash the bus

If you want a future for your child
Or only want to walk in peace a while across this land . . .
He’s not your man

Orel Protopopescu won the Oberon poetry prize in 2010 and a commendation in the Second Light Live competition, 2016. Her poems have appeared in TheNewVerse.News, Light Poetry Magazine, Lighten Up Online, and paper-based reviews and anthologies. Her book of translations (with Siyu Liu) A Thousand Peaks, Poems from China was honored by the NYPL. Other publications: a book for teachers of poetry, prize-winning picture books, a bilingual poetry app for children and a chapbook What Remains. She is currently completing work on a biography of the legendary ballerina, Tanaquil Le Clercq.