Daniel Galef


Burlington Bernie

(After the classic English music hall song “Burlington Bertie”)

The Bern—are you feelin’ it?
You’ll learn—put some zeal in it.
How can they call
Healthcare for all
A luxury when it’s a right?
I ran . . . in ’16 and ’20 but didn’t get past the first round.
The next time they’re polled
I’ll be 90 years old
But I’ll shout, till I’m laid in the ground:

I’m Burlington Bernie,
I’ve had quite the journey,
To D.C. from up in Vermont
But that schlep is a pittance.
After marches and sit-ins,
Campaigning is just a light jaunt.
I’m too old for “The Squad,”
But Bros treat me like God;
I became a youth symbol? Don’t you find that odd?

But I’m Bernie,
And they’ll need a gurney
To carry me off of my soapbox.
I’ll write bill after bill
At my desk on the Hill
And watch Congress all fill in the “Nope” box.

They call . . . me a pinko!
Who cares . . . what they think—“Oh,
“He sounds like a clown,”
“Hair like Doc Brown,”
Call me when Biden’s face moves.
Some say . . . Social Democrats are of paths forward bereft.
My campaign did plenty
Back in 2020;
I lost, but I pushed ’em all left:

I’m Burlington Bernie
I had quite the journey
And still I will never say “when”;
I learned this fine tenet
From years in the Senate,
Where I’ve worked since about 1910.
They called me depravèd,
My white mane unshavèd,
“That socialist schmuck who looks like Larry David.”

I’m Bernie,
So call an attorney
And sue me to stop—won’t get far.
Throw punches like Drago,
I took worse in Chicago!
(That pic’s still my greatest PR.)

I’m Burlington Bernie,
I’ve made quite the journey
Though I didn’t get past the first round.
The next time they’re polled
I’ll be 90 years old
But I’ll shout, till I’m laid in the ground:
Healthcare for all!
Fossil fuels fall!
The system, it needs a complete overhaul!

I’m Bernie,
And I had such a journey!
But damned if it’s yet time to go,
I’ll fight to the end
And long after, my friend,
For I’m Burlington Bernie, you know!

Alla Barnens

For Nicole Caruso Garcia

After recess all the children fell in line
Except Belle
She fell in a well

All writers’ graves erode over time
Except Dickens’
His plot thickens

All the children called, “Warmer, warmer” during hide-and-seek
Except Midge
She hid in the fridge

Daniel Galef’s first book, Imaginary Sonnets, is forthcoming from Word Galaxy/Able Muse Press this winter. It is a collection of persona poems each from the point of view of a different historical figure, literary character, or inanimate object. Though not purely a collection of light verse, it contains plenty, including a couple of poems first published right here in Light. Speakers of the sonnets include scientists, explorers, wizards, pirates, poets, painters, soldiers, saints, pathological liars, obscure philosophers, and a taco, ranging from Biblical times to the present, and, in one or two cases, the future. Buy it wherever sonnets are sold!