Poetry, sometimes, should be a blunt instrument.
Bertolt Brecht knew that, perhaps because his name
Sounds like a hammer striking a spike.
Can poets afford to be subtle and ambiguous
When rogues and thieves and fools lie their way
To power? We need to know that we do not live
In a promised land. A shameless crew of liars,
Practiced and polished, buttering and bettering
Their molten images, have rotted language,
Which litters the landscape like bug-chewn
No one approves of blunt poetry
That says lying rhymes with dying, it’s not art.
But many die because of lies, real human beings
With real empty stomachs or real holes in their bodies
With real blood draining away.
So, in these days
Of mean, twisted, squalid lies thickening the air
Like a year-long cloud blocking the sun,
What can one do but bludgeon you, reader?
From: Spaces and Lines by Karl Patten
I first drafted this poem back in the bad days of Reagan-Bush/daddy. But I never got around to doing anything with it. However, when Bush/baby came along it was imperative that I publish it, in 2002.
I assumed that that was the end of it, but now after a year of Obama I think it’s time to give it to the world again. I do not think of him as a rogue or a thief, but I’ve come to believe he is easily fooled by the people he appoints. My heart sank early when Rahm Emmanual was named his chief of staff; little chance of “change” with this Chicago hoodlum running the show. Things quickly got worse: Summers, Geithner, Gates, Jones, etc. All these men, blind to the causes – corporate, military-industrial, banking – that put us in the current mess, and the international loss of trust in the USA – are carrying us to further disasters. I still think Obama is personally a decent human being, and his language is, for a politician, “practiced and polished,” but, like most of the Democrats in Congress, a disease called fear has withered his spine. Perhaps an extended stay in a rehabilitative facility could reconstruct it, but I dare say it’s already too late. The nation still wants – and needs – change but all these blind and blighted men cannot imagine it. Instead we get Afghanistan, and worse. I had had some small hope in Eric Holder, but after the Justice Department couldn’t find the Blackwater murderers guilty, hope melted away.
With all the above, it is necessary now, reader, that we go out and bludgeon Obama and all of his squalid crew and turn things around. Pardon me for my excess, but sorrow and anger tend to boil over.