Bill Lord

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Election Year, 2016

The elephants rage in their musth,
stomp through the three-ring circus.
The people scatter; the tent-poles collapse,
all broadcast live on global TV.
Oh, the show of humanity!

Watch the statues of bronzer and granite,
wearing shoulder pads, pantsuits, and toupees
(Washington loves those masculine displays)
wave to the people with their tiny hands.

CNN, MSNBC, and FOX,
these factories of real-time platitudes
and designer demagoguery
printing presses for snarky bumper stickers;
the aphorisms overwhelm us, and
we fall, our bodies riddled with bullet points.

They sold our souls for photos
of the holes in Adlai’s shoes.
Magnesium flares; smile for the cameras,
make sure they get a good view:
Eisenhower in the front pew.

Journalists wait, sip coffee, stir
the muck of powdered milk and sucralose,
while white vans branded with corporate logos,
chase poll numbers like rabid dogs.

Swear on a Bible; swear on two!
swear to tell us nothing but the truth;
swear like a sailor in a bordello;
swear by Diana’s golden lasso;
swear anything, just…
Swear that this time you’ll be good to us.

© Copyright 2016 Bill Lord

Bill Lord is an existentialist musician, cat-lover, and adjunct faculty member at Northern Virginia Community College, where he teaches Composition and Literature. This is Bill’s third submission to the 30 for 30 project.

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2 Responses to Bill Lord

  1. MaryJo says:

    Thanks for another good poem, Bill. You’ve captured the circus well. Your last line is my hope too…”Swear you’ll be good to us.”

    What is an existentialist musician.? Intriguing.

    • William Lord says:

      Thanks, MaryJo. It’s hard to describe what an existentialist musician is without sounding pretentious, but I guess it’s too late for that. i wrestle with the “existentialist” label, especially when it comes to music, which seems so spiritual and immaterial. Indeed, a lot of my thoughts are contradictory. As an existentialist, I don’t worry about mixing genres, and I feel the “soul’ of my music comes from practicing the techniques. In performances as a singer, I focus on being a specific heartbroken person rather than tapping into some universal sense of grief or dejection. I hope that makes sense. It barely does to me. 🙂

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