Living Mystery
(From The Triumph of Strife: an homage to Dante Alighieri and Percy Shelley)

Unfazed by all this "living history"
Which taught her nothing real about the road
She sought to craft her own biography

By passing on the right a Mr. Toad
Whose scraping of the guardrail near the cliff
Caused sparks to fly and fuel lines to explode

Which left some passengers both dead and stiff
From rides this wild few come back home alive
Yet still she saw her chance to pose and sniff

Professing that she, too, knows Jesus jive
And can upon her rug pray just as hard
As any who spin lies from nine to five

A pasty, tasteless tub of greasy lard
Consigned to languish somewhere in the yard

So how to claim the “middle” from the edge?
How claim the “center” from circumference?
How speak of “normal” standing on the ledge?

Without appearing as the schoolroom dunce
Who proudly perches in her pointed hat
Upon her corner stool revealed at once

As someone banished like a boorish brat
Whose haughty back she turns upon the class
A glittering gold-digging gnostic gnat

Who seeks to show her brains but shows her ass
So out of touch on her periphery
She seems to think that pandering will pass

While thinking that the other kids can't see
Her sucking up to money's vanity

She won’t engage us citizens as such
She sees us as consumers of a brand
She leans upon consultants like a crutch

Who fibrillate her fear of failure fanned
So that she masticates misleading mews:
Encapsulated campaign clichés canned

Each morning before breakfast she reviews
Her scripted spontaneity prepared
Her bravely uttered echoes and “me-too”s

Before the morning news has even aired
Rehearsed regurgitation has reduced
Whatever insight might have briefly flared

With only incapacity induced
We see what lily livers have produced

Some two-score years ago conscription clawed
At others of her cohort who complied
And went to serve but came back under-awed

With hard-earned skepticism amplified
Determined never more to swallow hype
Or propaganda from the petrified

Who did no thing but treasure their own type
While hawking urban myths about the Vet
The homeless “loser” with his dope and pipe

Deserving only of the epithet
And not the questions in which answers lay
Like “How can we avoid another Tet?”

That shocking revelation in a day
That in an instant swept the lies away

But no breeze ruffled up her feathered nest
Or altered a priority or plan
She lived among the brightest and the best

Who went to private schools for their élan
To make connection with the blessed brood
Who never stood a watch or cleaned the can

Deep in a jungle’s lethal neighborhood
Or in a desert convoy humping loads
Where grim attrition makes it understood

That death and maiming lie along the roads
Awaiting only accident or slip
Or luck run out when faulty planning goads:

The enemy she’s given so much lip
Can often pick the time to let it rip

She “questions” armies built on volunteers
Which means: “here comes the Draft” if she gets in
At those who work for peace she rudely jeers

Assuming a “tough” stance will help her win
She glares and clucks like chicken hawks all do
While asking nothing hard from her own kin

She does her best, the working class to screw
Supporting wars that drain them of their blood
Then agitates for yet more wars anew

Attending meetings where she chews the cud
This blowhard Senate back-bench amazon
Goes hunting Wabbits dwessed like Elmer Fudd

And finds herself outwitted by a fawn:
As Bambi Sheehan bravely soldiers on

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright 2006-2010