The Misfortune Teller ("Maybe or Maybe Not")
Maybe or Maybe Not
(after the style of Rudyard Kipling's "If")

If you would lose your head when others wouldn't
And let polls do your thinking when you won't,
If you could trust George Bush when wise men couldn't
But still excuse his lying when they don't,

If you can wait for someone else to lead us,
And being led yourself, follow behind,
And, living large, dine with the ones who bleed us,
Yet never seem to pay us any mind;

If you're content to make George Bush your master,
If you can slink away to his estate;
If you can turn Triumph into Disaster
And treat Joe Lieberman as your blind date;

If you can bear to hear the lies you've spoken
Straightened by truth to make you look the fool,
Or watch what former Democrats built broken,
While right-wing cynics use you as their tool;

If you can make one heap of all our army
And risk their lives on one throw of the dice,
And lose, and cover up by speaking smarmy
And blame somebody else by talking nice;

If you can show no heart or nerve or sinew
Yet serve your own self even as you flee,
And so put out when there is nothing in you
Except the sign you wear which says: "Kick me!"

It could be that someone will come to teach you
Some braver soul, perhaps, will show the way
Maybe an errant vertebra will reach you
Perhaps your spine will stiffen one fine day

You may, perhaps, or maybe you won't, either
Perhaps you'll skitter further to the right
Like other chicken hawks, you need a breather
Before the next time that you take to flight

With luck, we won't lose more than three each day now
Perhaps only a dozen died this week
It could be you've found some cool way to say, "Wow!
Just look at all that `Victory' we seek!"

You could have chanced to find some Chinese money
To borrow from our children for your war
Maybe you'll visit good King George, your honey,
And pledge your party as his loyal whore

You and the press have sure played Rip Van Winkle
And gone to sleep to wake up out to lunch
While vampires on our "values" loudly sprinkle
Invective while continuing to munch

Yet still you quake and quiver at the vision
Of greedy bats out after our last dime
Upon our necks they make a new incision
While you prevaricate and stall for time

While Cindy Sheehan shows true grit you wobble
And, like the wildebeest, hide in the herd
Content to let the lion chew and gobble
On others' children - all without a word

Perhaps you'll dodge a vote and so we'll stay in
Most likely you'll decry some burning flags
While soldiers die you slither on your way in
To Senate chambers famed for bogus gags

No doubt you'll raise more funds to sell your virtue,
And kneel for kings to lose the common touch,
While only friends but not your foes desert you;
Because you've asked too little for so much,

You'll likely fill the unforgiving hour
With only sixty seconds' worth of work,
And still expect the Earth for you to flower,
Which maybe will not happen now, you jerk!

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright 2005