(Election Elegy)

Dan Bellm

you and Mom canceled each other out
for decades I’m sure of it and somehow
it worked but anyway the ballot was secret

is all you would say and you did your share
of railing at any politician in spitting distance
white man of the working class with no

college education except for maybe when
we got a Catholic in there and who
wouldn’t be angry in a state where the

governor routinely went to jail and
one is still there where he belongs
not to mention I formed a good part in

the end of what you were angry about
me with my books and my ticket out of
town on a scholarship and how I came

back as you’d say with ideas in my head
whereas you liked a self-made man who’d
worked for it like a grunt and could put his

name on things but a guy who just sat at
a desk and thought thoughts what was that
and same went for any billionaire who got it

handed to him or a big shot who talks out his
ass what he’ll do for you tomorrow no
a shyster you had no time for never mind

the sucker who’d fall for him and get what
he deserves I’m just saying don’t we agree at
last though you’ve been too dead now to

vote for 22 years even in a state where the
dead used to vote all the time and I don’t
want to hear for one more fucking minute

I should try to understand the angry white
man because I do and he’s my kin and I’m one
myself and I’m not having it because neither

would you and just look at him Dad with his
money and the snarl on his face and his
suits that don’t fit right and his orange hair

Dan Bellm has published four books of poems, most recently Deep Well (Lavender Ink). His translation of Mexican poet Pura López Colomé, Speaking in Song, is just out from Shearsman Books. He teaches translation and poetry at Antioch University L.A.