"All the News That Rhymes"

The NewsPoem

Weather: lovely

Distribution: 3 Printed in Urbana Wednesday, 27 August, 1998 FREE

Dear President Clinton,

It's good to be in touch with you again. I know, when you saw my return address on the envelope, you must have felt funny opening it. So thanks. Because you must know that I am very disappointed in you for bombing Afghanistan and Sudan. Yes, I read about it. I am ashamed, in fact. Because I voted for you. I am your loyal constituent. That's right: I voted for you, and now you answer to me. It's painful but it's beautiful. It's a painful beautiful thing called Democracy. Democracy, Bill, the idea that you are responsible to your electorate. I mean, if you want to get technical, what I just described isn't even democracy, democracy is even more painful and beautiful. So I wanted to write you because I knew you needed to know how I felt. Imagine, Bill, how difficult you have made it for my newspoets to keep up. To spell Afghanistan. Have you tried to spell the names of the places you've bombed? There is no pretense of a public backing for this. What voting American is going to say "okay, go ahead and bomb Afghanistan and Sudan, as long as it's not an act of aggression against those countries." Mister Clinton, I just want to go on the record now as saying, bombing those people at this time has brought all the people already in question of your integrity further into question of your integrity. Also somebody might have been hurt. The New York Times devoted its entire A-section to the bombing, and the Times pointed out that someone might have been hurt by the dozens of tomahawk cruise missiles that blew up those buildings, but no information was available. Hurting people. Which is I guess the point. That is, the point being, not all those people hurt in Sudan or Afghanistan, but rather all those Americans. Hurt in the bombings of those American embassies in Africa. Bombing people is bad, Bill, and it seems we are in agreement on this point. Do bombs justify bombs, is, I think, the question where our opinions diverge. The Chicago Tribune called it a WAR OF TERROR, whoops I meant to say WAR ON TERROR. I wonder how those American agents at work as spies feel now that their work is being ruined. If they can escape bombing or being discovered and tortured for having collected the information that made the bombing possible, where are they going to go from there? I guess they can get positions in Gore's cabinet. Gore. Give me a break. Those poor spies. Americans are more uptight about sex than bombs. Who is this Ken Starr guy, what's he like in person? Can we get him on the side of the Democrats somehow? Imagine Ken Starr hauling Bush and Reagan out of retirement and having words about the Iran-Contra thing. That whole thing was a scandal. Does it count as a scandal if no one seems particularly scandalized? Did North blush on the podium? Iran-Contra, and it is the poet's job to remember to the reader, the one we sold arms to was the one we were enemies with at the time, even though their enemies later proved to be our enemies. They do not expect you to think. They do not expect you to believe them. They give you impossible explanations for horrifying atrocities. They have elections. They campaign in order to get you to not vote against them, or to get you to not vote. And that, Mister Clinton, is why I am going to discourage you from seeking a third term.

Your loyal constituent,

Newspoetry at Spineless Books