I long for a poet who can beat out some stanzas about November 3, 2009, in the United States, the day of an off-year, off-kilter election. Some clumps and clusters of citizens went to the polls. The results that we know are as messy as the country itself.
By now even the most myopic of observers can list the signs of the mess. Maine mauls gay marriage. But Houston puts a lesbian into a run-off for mayor. New York elects a Democrat to Congress from a traditionally Republican district that the Limbaughers and Palinettes have staked out as a reserve of conservative purity. But Virginia and New Jersey put the swords of democracy on the shoulders of Republicans and dub them governor. The cocks of the Grand Old Party gloat and crow. Boy, oh, boy, some whisper, the election of 2009, not boring old health care, is Obama's Waterloo. New York City almost says that its mayoralty cannot be bought, not even by a man as able as Michael Bloomberg. But City Council seats go to Democrats by majorities so gallingly large that one fears for democracy.
What poet can travel from oil-rigged sea to old-rigged sea to capture the mess? What poet can balance the grief of real economic loss and the sour anger of the teabaggers who fear loss? What poet can satirize the public preening and the posturing of the suits and pants suits in the media or public forums? And what poet can dig out the mumbling excuses of the romantic followers of Obama in 2008 who seem not to have managed to trip the light fantastic to the polls in 2009? My vote: an Alexander Pope with a well of democratic yearnings.