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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

election 2012

My blog today is a cumulative poem written throughout Election Day and Night. Thank you for voting!  I was in line at 6:45am, and voted at 7:05am.  It was 8am when I started this poem and I finished it 24 hours later.  The poem is in 5 parts, the 5th of which was inspired by "Words Count With Mama Zen" at Imaginary Gardens.

Election Day 2012
Part One: 8 am

We watch the polls, those of us on-line
for our candidate for a year, 6 months
and the last 4 days, non-stop. Pay?
No. But if that time means we have
our FaVoRiTe working for us for 4 years--
what a pay-off.

Gamblers at the racetrack could not be
more engaged in the 5 minutes from
ready set to go. In the casinos and
backrooms of bars, could it be more
exciting than all of these baseball-trained
game callers on cable who have less
to say today than in any true sport?

Remember Valentine's Day ballot boxes,
waiting for your name to be called, your
head drooping lower when it occurs
to you—you could have stuffed the box
with your own, from whom-ever you
wished instead of biting your lip to blood--
no tears--Will you remember someday
to praise yourself for honesty, for
integrity if someone else is so much
more popular that you-could-die?

In this election, more is at stake, but I
feel the same.  How can—after all this
time—how could I lose?  How could
anyone disagree?  How could you
bring a card for him and not for me?
All day long I drive to the polls again
and again and again, not to watch
the polls, not to influence them, but
to take my mind off that Valentine's Day
box and my choices 50 years ago.  Will
I be willing to say to whom-ever wins
"In a democracy, you too are mine, I am
your valentine?"

Part Two: 1:30 pm

After 99 "Have-you-voted-hurray! and
calls and one drop off for a canvassing, 
pair, I check back to the office, prepare 
to leave, ask "where is the win-win party 
tonight?"  Vote for America people look 
up from phones and maps and snacking  
open mouthed and eyed, sleeplessness 
creasing raised brows: "At your house?"  
they joke.  Uh-oh.  What, me?  I want it,
but I don't want to do it.  I voted.  I called.
I might sleep through tonight's poll
closings.  But not celebrate?  Leave it
to tomorrow?  That’s ritual broken.
"With the Ohio count, we may be able
to hold a victory party next February,"
one grouses.  What? What kind of hope
is that?  Have we fizzled out?  Get out
the vote, get the vote out!  Get out! 

Part Three: 8 pm

Woke from my “nap” 5 minutes after
Pennsylvania polls closed feeling more
elated and more depressed than months
of engaged campaigning prepared me for,
more hungry than tired, more like hiding
behind the piano to watch as if I was still
little and the Lone Ranger was in danger.

The television and piano at Grandmother’s!
Gone now--but at age 12 I was there watching
the November that JFK was shot, again and
again watching Jackie move in the convertible–
Why am I thinking about that now? November
November is about citizen pride—election day
and Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving Day, all. 

The television is on in the living room and 
National Public Radio is on in the study;
dinner is on in the kitchen where I stand
in prayer, trying to wait on God, not strain
my ears to hear nor watch the pot come 
to a boil for the tea I make to calm elation,
lift depression, and ease and seize this day

Part Four: Midnight Sonnet

My candidate wins according to news!
Please scrape the bottom of the ballot box
so we wake up tomorrow with the same
good news and tomorrow and tomorrow
just promises more ripeness and we grow
this sign of prayers answered is real change
—not luck, not hurricanes, not a bet won,
not anything but right and left progress

My candidate wins according to news!
Facebook is filled with sighs of happiness
leaving the grousing for another day
or morning recounts by discredited
machines.  I go to bed happy packing
up this effort and ready for the next.

Part Five: Win Win
Tabulations continue
to show citizens win again—
and voters split near 50/50 prompt
our president to praise and promote unity.

Feel free to add some lines or more as a comment.  Critical comments are welcome too as are comments about your election day experience.

Posted at the Imaginary Garden's "Open Link Monday" because I am a Real Toad; and at dVerse Poets Pub's Open Mic Night because I like them.  This is not my regular poetry blog, which you can see here.

 Copyright © 2012 S.L.Chast