Dead similes hope for a last fix—you
In the corridors clutching their tropes and looking
Around bravely: “"This bill is like Swiss cheese;
It's full of holes. This bill is like fine wine gone bad.
This bill..." Language reverbs,
Between manic and ludic. Do we think in words?
Or are they minions of appetite, brazening
And ordaining the venal complacencies?
Is there government without speechifying?
You can see the phrases—diligent sprites—line up
As another senator rises and starts to yawp.
Lowell evoked Rome but the high-mindedness
Of these propounders is American Puritan.
Any rhetoric had better be a bargain.
Baron Wormser is
the author of six books of poems, including Subject Matter
(2003, Sarabande), Mulroney & Others (Sarabande, 2000),
and The White Words (Houghton Mifflin, 1983). He is
coauthor of Teaching the Art of Poetry: The Moves (Lawrence
Erlbaum Assoc., 2000). His honors include fellowships from the National
Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
He teaches in the Stonecoast MFA Program and at the Frost Place in
Franconia, NH, and is Poet Laureate of Maine.
Volume 7, Number 3, Summer 2006.