Poems of the Week

A Payola of Politicians

by Ed Shacklee

They skulk about the premises philosophers debunk:
cousins to the crocodile and scions of the skunk,
somnolent if sober, somewhat flammable while drunk,

waging war with common sense to win a hill of beans,
their thoughts are tanks; their words are gas; their motives, submarines;
their motto is a winking hint, but none know what it means.

They’re wearing clownish masks above their chalky painted faces.
Their comedies are tragedies; their poison pen erases.
They bare their asses to the wind while covering the bases.

They’re plotting like the Borgias, eating clotted cream on toast
with devils down in Georgia and the pirates on the coast,
and sweat and strain to forge a chain to drag like Marley’s ghost.

Their truths are lies with faces bared, their jobs are holidays—
they golf while Rome’s engulfed within a fuel-assisted blaze,
then later feast on barbecue for which the victim pays.

They’re dancing past us naked with their patterns recognizable.
Their pickled minds are mousetrap quick, their toothy smiles are sizable,
and children like to shake their hands, but this is not advisable.