Lament of the Apathetic Voter
Based on "The Raven," with sincere apologies to both Poe's ghost and parrots.
Once an economy dark and dreary, in a country Iraq war-weary,
Preyed on many a voter's mind with dismal gloom like none before.
While I blogged, my keyboard tapping, I heard someone's lips a-flapping,
Politics as usual yapping, yapping I tried to ignore.
"Oh, not this again," I muttered, "what a miserable bore—
Same old lies, and nothing more."
Very clearly I remember it was not far from November,
With Election Day approaching and commercials to endure.
What our leaders were achieving seemed like little more than thieving,
And I sat at my desk grieving—grieving for the land of yore—
For the strong and hopeful country I had known in years before—
I feared lost for evermore.
The unwanted sound of chatter seemed like nothing that could matter,
And I looked around intending to get rid of it for sure,
But I found no radio blaring, and no TV screen was staring
In the house that now was scaring me down to my shivering core—
Noise continued unabated like waves breaking on a shore—
Fear dripped from my every pore.
I checked for an open window; —was my neighbor fond of Limbaugh?
But the house was closed up tightly, with a deadbolt on the door.
With no right-wing talk shows hating and no candidates debating,
Could I be hallucinating? But I never did before.
There must be an explanation for this hellish noise, I swore!
Then I started to explore.
I went down into the basement and examined every casement,
But found only crickets chirping and old spiderwebs galore.
Still, from up above came gabbling—neverending pointless babbling—
As if someone might be dabbling in unholy spirits' lore.
What strange evil could be lurking up there on my home's first floor?
It had to be stopped! No more!
Then, still feeling some confusion—could it just be an illusion?
I decided it was time for drastic action to ensure
That I hadn't just been missing a TV or radio hissing
Loud obnoxious talk shows dissing candidates, and nothing more.
So I took a few steps forward and I flung open a door;
Time to end this hideous roar!
Hoping not to meet my Maker, I flipped my main circuit breaker
Plunging me into deep darkness like Hades' infernal shore.
Suddenly there was no talking, but I heard a startled squawking
And the sound of someone walking—huge footsteps!—on my first floor.
I imagined thirsty vampires, or cold ghouls dripping with gore
All parading through my door.
Then I saw a giant parrot, orange-feathered like a carrot,
Wisps of smoke were rising from it where it stood upon my floor.
Hellish flames inside it were stoked, like a cruel spirit invoked,
"Our foes are everywhere!" it croaked. "Bomb Iran! Third World War!
Keep building bases in Iraq for a hundred years or more!
Give our troops tour after tour!"
I was sure I must be dreaming when I saw its red eyes gleaming,
But it cackled ever louder, just as if to underscore
The fiendish cruelty deep inside this monstrous parrot's feathered hide
Deliberate schemes to divide our country from shore to shore.
Flames of hatred burning higher, with more fuel still to pour
Cackling there upon my floor.
"Don't you think so?" it demanded. "If you don't agree, you're branded
As a commie pinko liberal that good people must abhor!
Your friends may lack moderation, or your neighbor's on probation
It's guilt by association—that's how smears have worked before.
You're probably a terrorist Americans should deplore.
Off to Gitmo evermore!
"Now, as to the economy—well, there's no problem I can see.
More big tax cuts for the wealthy will be sure to make it soar.
Its fundamentals are quite strong! There's nothing seriously wrong
That can't be fixed before too long, if we hurry up and pour
All our money into Wall Street, with oversight nevermore!
There's no need to mind the store.
"We’ll make health care just like banking, never mind how much it's tanking,
Just trust us with all the details—thinking for yourself's a chore.
Let us praise deregulation as we sack and loot the nation,
What's best for a corporation is what we should all adore.
Hallelujah for free markets! Joe the Plumber knows the score.
Its harsh words gave me cold shivers, like a million icy rivers.
No, this couldn't be the future our great country had in store!
Torn to shreds, with hatred sundered—could this really be, I wondered?
Had we all so badly blundered as to be doomed evermore?
Surely it must still be possible for good folks to restore
Our kind, decent land of yore?
Or perhaps that country never had existed—no, not ever—
And the land I loved was just a fantasy, and nothing more.
"No," I said aloud, still thinking, as the parrot's eyes kept blinking
And the reek of brimstone stinking grew much stronger than before.
"Even though we have some problems, we're not rotten to the core
In this country I adore.
"We can take back our great nation from this corporate predation
Build it up and make it better than it ever was before.
Yes, we have the strength to do it if we just get right down to it,
We can help each other through it—that's what good neighbors are for.
So get out of here, you monster; you won't fool me anymore.
You're done preying on the poor!
"I've had quite enough of struggling to pay all these bills I'm juggling."
Then I glared in bold defiance at this fiend upon my floor.
Still the parrot seemed undaunted, as my house it cruelly haunted,
"Well, so what?" the creature taunted. "Did you go vote in '04?
If you didn't, then it's your own fault the wolf is at your door!
Wall Street owns you evermore!"
"Not this time," I answered stoutly; —not again, I vowed devoutly!
"Corruption isn't going to own America any more.
No more tricks of vote suppression leaving us in a recession
Or perhaps a Great Depression like the worst we've known before.
Now I've learned my lesson when it comes to voting, that's for sure.
Me, skip voting? Nevermore!"
"Others will," it kept on jeering, with its twisted beak still sneering,
"That's how Repubs got elected for so many years before!"
Then it vanished, leaving troubling questions deep inside me bubbling,
As my worries kept redoubling—worries I could not ignore.
Could our apathetic voters doom our land for evermore?
I hoped not—but was I sure?