“The reason I’m a Nixonite is because of his indestructibility and resilience.”
— Roger Stone
The day after Stone was indicted,
I watched All the President’s Men.
Woodward and Bernstein, The Washington Post,
a DNC data breach—Stone, like a ghost
who’d lived through it, had hijacked our system again
on a mission to get this skewed nation re-righted.
But how did he do it? Rumors persist
of the mug shot of Nixon tattooed on Stone’s back.
Does it glow when he flashes the famed finger-Vs,
or smirk when he pooh-poohs the Feds’ legalese?
Does the shrug of his shoulders produce a slight crack
of hilarity wreathed in a sulfurous mist?
Has Nixon, etched deep by a sorcerer’s pen,
taught Stone how to rig things so cheaters can win?
Then beware: although henchmen are hauled into court
by decree of the ominous Mueller report—
Papadopoulos, Manafort, Cohen, and Flynn—
we will never root out all the President’s men.
“Do something about your dad’s immigration practices, you feckless ____!”
— Samantha Bee to Ivanka Trump
That word—so blunt, so arrogant
it burns like an intoxicant
and critics squint at the mere hint
of its bouquet in speech or print—
was surely meant (by one hellbent
on voicing a country’s discontent)
to gall the faint, appall the saint,
blast through the last polite constraint
and flaunt our crass tongue’s power to haunt
the conscience of a debutante.
Why should we rant or look askant
at slang too shameless to recant?
A one-word stunt, its boldfaced brunt
could not be more significant.
David Southward teaches in the Honors College at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His first chapbook, Apocrypha, was published by Wipf & Stock in 2018; newer poems have appeared in Gyroscope Review, Measure, Millwork, Verse-Virtual, and the anthologies Love Affairs at the Villa Nelle and Van Gogh Dreams. Find out more at davidsouthward.com.