This poem of mine originally appeared in the first issue of CRITIPHORIA...
Richard Nixon at Bosworth Field
My kingdom for a horse, a Pegasus to carry me across
The waves from California to Hanoi, higher than my helicopters,
That from her bare back I might cast down through the clouds
My soul-destroying barbéd iron spear into the enemy’s brain.
My kingdom for a slice of pumpkin pie on china in her kitchen,
My mother, whose bliss outshines the sphere of Saturn as,
High above Beatrice, she passes her immortal days beside the Virgin
On her throne, in robes of gingham, holding in one hand a silver scepter,
In the other, a wicker picnic basket filled with thin ham sandwiches.
My kingdom for one of those loudspeaker cars, rigged with bullhorns,
That I might drive it through Chicago, Dallas and D.C., its fat Bakelite
Microphone an apple in my trembling hand, the coiled cord pulled taut.
I’d speak again the words I spoke a million years ago into the live machine,
The words whose ghost became the 18 Minute Gap, that spouting hiss
Of Moby-Dick, that Siren’s aria, eternal music of the spheres,
Hidden like starlight at noon, or like the skeletons my namesake made
Of those two princelings born between my Lord of Gloucester and the Crown,
Who bled to death beneath their uncle’s knife, until he dragged their bodies
To the closet underneath the stairs below the Tower’s Chapel
Undiscovered for three hundred years and then sequestered in an urn.
My kingdom for a pint of blood, to render audible the voice my death made mute,
A pint of blood to feed my homeless shade that loiters in lobby
Of the Jefferson Memorial, the Mall, the hot coals of the pretzel cart in January,
Whose smoke stings gently in the carriage horses’ blinkered eyes.
My ghost looks out from inside giant Lincoln’s giant face of Colorado marble:
I can see for miles, the frozen grass, plastic bags entangled in a million trees,
McDonald’s orphaned Styrofoam adrift across the Lower 48, dioxin, DDT,
Mount Arlington’s white crosses “finite but unbounded” like the universe, fog.
If only I could speak, then I would tell you all what words I let escape
The threshold of my face into the tape, that day the Devil came to Washington
And took possession of my tongue. You would be grateful I erased it all:
How my handlers in the CIA, my Mafiosi, my Exilios, broke into that hotel
To steal some evidence that ten years earlier they did it: Killed the President,
Injected me and Lyndon with the cold, black bile of God.