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Thursday, November 10, 2022


by Dick Altman

Donald Trump and Herschel Walker. Photograph by Tom Brenner / Reuters / Alamy via The New Yorker

The World’s Democracies Ask: Why Can’t America Fix Itself? Conversations across continents reveal alarm over the United States’ direction, as it slides away from ideals it once pressed other nations to adopt. —Damien Cave, The New York Times, November 8, 2022

The Midterm Elections Deliver a Stunning Return to the Status Quo: The red wave never materialized, Trump’s handpicked candidates underperformed, some new faces emerged—but the country appears as evenly divided as ever. —Benjamin Wallace-Wells, The New Yorker, November 9, 2022

I imagine next spring—when I—along
with the rest of America—walk a path
of autumn’s golden leaves—the period
of quiescence before the next electoral
storm—our metaphorical nuclear winter—
the end—many fear—of we the people—
we who have waged war for the peace
of others—unable to forge peace
among ourselves—
I walk autumn’s golden leaves—
as goodness that rebuilt the world—time
and again—begins to turn into winter’s
snarl—I hear it wail at night—rattle
doors and windows—seep into dreams—
the storm cellar of my heart beckons—
I want to hide my thoughts—shield them
from anger sweeping the land—a land
with enough destruction at hand—
to kill each one of us ten times over—
I walk autumn’s golden leaves—
in spring’s bloom—and the music
of the rose that I should be hearing—
sounds like distant thunder—cannon
out to destroy—to mutilate—lines
of kindness that have—through peace
and war—stitched together the fabric
of America—the cloth that so gallantly
waved—slowly—inevitably—by word—
by sword—by we the people—singly
and together—we rend into bits
of voiceless thread—of elegiac confetti
signaling spring’s end—and winter’s
birth of America the beautiful—scarred
beyond knowing

Dick Altman writes in the high, thin, magical air of Santa Fe, NM, where, at 7,000 feet, reality and imagination often blur. He is published in Santa Fe Literary Review, American Journal of Poetry, riverSedge, Fredericksburg Literary Review, Foliate Oak, Blue Line, THE Magazine, Humana obscura, The Offbeat, Haunted Waters Press, Split Rock Review, The RavensPerch, Beyond Words, The New Verse News, Sky Island Journal, and others here and abroad. A poetry winner of Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition, he has in progress two collections of some 100 published poems. His work has been selected for the forthcoming first volume of The New Mexico Anthology of Poetry to be published by the New Mexico Museum Press.