The Worst President

February 24, 2018

A couple of weeks ago a survey of 170 presidential historians put Donald Trump in last place—behind even James Buchanan, whom many historians blame for failing to stop the Civil War. That led me to think about a comment that Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. the preeminent political historian of our time, made about American presidents, which was this, “President serve us as inspirations, and they also serve us as warnings. They provide bad examples, as well as good.”

As to the bad examples, the Supreme Court said over one hundred years ago that “The nation has no right to expect that it will always have wise and humane rulers, sincerely attached to the principles of the Constitution. Wicked men, ambitious of power, with hatred of liberty and contempt of law, may fill the place once occupied by Washington and Lincoln.” You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know such a person is sitting in the White House right now.

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The GOP Serenity Prayer

February 5, 2018

By Martin H. Levinson

 

God grant me the

serenity to accept

the facts I can easily

change; the cynicism

to convince others

they are true; and

the wisdom to know

next to nothing.

Metonymy Gone Wild

May 13, 2017

By Martin H. Levinson

 

Beneath the rule of men entirely great

The pen is mightier than the sword.

—From the play Richelieu;

                        Or the Conspiracy

by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

 

Cardinal Richelieu fictitiously said the pen is

mightier than the sword which makes me

wonder if that noble cleric ever received a

 

serious wound from a blade that punctured his

skin and caused profuse pain as the object of

his disaffection sliced through muscles, organs

 

and epithelial tissue giving great distress to a

royal corpus that will someday enter heaven

if it does good works though countless clergy

 

say works are useless for getting into heaven and

atheists say there is no heaven, which means if

they are right that the Cardinal will simply decay

 

over time once he perishes from his stab wound if

that laceration is a lethal one and not just an injury

that will spurt blood all over his eminence’s

 

handsome red ecclesiastical robes and throb like

a mouthful of infected rotting teeth for droves of

dolorous days and numerous nightmarish nights

 

and lead him to cry out at the top of his

First Minister’s lungs I was wrong!

To get one’s point across the sword,

 

which can cut you to the quick

and leave you dead or real sick, is

far superior to any writing instrument.

The Election is “Rigged”

November 5, 2016

Donald Trump is right the election is rigged. But he is wrong in the direction of the rigging. It is rigged against Hillary Clinton and here are the “riggers”:

The first one is the “liberal mainstream media” that for the first sixteen months of his run gave Donald Trump a pass while he spun obvious and bold-faced lies that they didn’t call him on because those lies created conflict, which was good for TV and news ratings.

The second one is the Russians, who hacked Democratic Party emails to help swing the election for Trump.

The third “rigger” is FBI director James Comey, who in July stated there was not enough evidence in Hillary Clinton’s email to prosecute her on, but slammed her anyway, and has now, against the advice of the Department of Justice, intruded in the election by informing Congress that the FBI has found evidence that may or may not be significant.

Hillary may lose the election because of the “rigged campaign” against her and if she does I’m pretty sure that unlike her Republican rival, for the good of country, she will make a concession speech and not keep the nation in suspense.

National Poetry Month

April 4, 2016

I offer the following poem to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of National Poetry Month.

After Billy Collins

by Martin H. Levinson

Kudos to those

heroically manning

the ramparts of

accessible verse,

for clarity is courage

and efforts to convey

lyric thought with

coherent invention

and sharp intention

is a godsend, like

Billy Collins who says

poetry fills him with joy,

leading him to rise like

a feather in the wind,

and poetry fills him with

sorrow, leading him to

sink like a chain flung

from a bridge, and the

trouble with poetry is

it encourages the writing

of more poetry, which

is a problem I

can relate to.

 

Rally Round the Flag

February 17, 2016

 

Rally Round the Flag

by Martin H. Levinson

 

Let’s rally round the flag blowing larger than life

bigger than death in oil-engorged blood-swelled

desert climes far from the malls and stalls of

suburban America where teenagers worry about

dimples and pimples, Facebook and texts.

 

I’ll charter a bus from World War II to put us in a

patriotic, V for victory, we’re-all-in-this-together

frame of mind and we can croon America the Beautiful,

the Star Spangled Banner and Ninety-nine Bottles of

Beer on the Wall as we go hell-bent for leather down a

 

pothole, out of control, no goal highway littered with

wreckage from Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan—

brutal futile feuds that looked aces at the start but

turned into fold ‘em don’t hold ‘em and let’s not

embolden the rest of the world from messing with us.

 

Don’t forget to wear your John Wayne Life is Tough,

Tougher if You’re Stupid T-shirt and your Love It or

Leave It baseball cap with the map of the USA sewn in

three-D Day-Glo way to go my country right or wrong

to the demonstration. And don’t forget war is hellacious but

 

goodness gracious it makes for dynamic discussions

‘round the water cooler and gives something to think

about besides a lousy economy, global warming, and

tales told by two-faced politicians full of sound and fury

signifying zilch.

Do No Harm

January 22, 2016

Another poem to ponder:

Do No Harm                          By Martin H. Levinson

so said Hippocrates of Cos,

“As to diseases, make a habit of

two things—to help, or at least

to do no harm.”

 

Nowadays

there is no single oath

all physicians take upon

entering practice.

 

Similarly

there is no single oath

all humans take when

starting relationships,

 

and that is a shame

because the world would

be a far better place

if we all vowed to

do no harm to friends, family

strangers, acquaintances, pets,

and other life forms, the rest

is just commentary.

There are Bombings in Iraq

January 4, 2016

Below, my poem on news overwhelm.

 

There are bombings in Iraq

 flare-ups in Afghanistan too,

a tsunami is hitting Japan,

a lion just escaped from the zoo.

 

Three killings in the Bronx,

two more murders in Queens,

a riot is raging in Brooklyn,

they’re calling in the marines.

 

The Democrats say they were wronged,

the Republicans say they feel tricked,

the President says his hands are tied,

the Congress does not contradict.

 

The climate is getting real hot,

the gun debate getting real cold,

student test scores are falling real fast,

the Supreme Court is out of control.

 

My walk is covered with snow,

loads of dishes lie in the sink,

haven’t done laundry in weeks,

haven’t had much time to think.

 

There is so much in the news,

don’t want to miss a darn thing,

the chores will just have to wait,

I’ll get to them in the spring.

At the End of the Day

January 3, 2016

Below, my poetic take on clichés:

At the End of the Day

Some folks strut their stuff

line their ducks up in a row

step into the sunshine

and feather their nests.

 

Other people are always at loose

ends, backs against the wall, dealing

with one damn thing after another with

no light at the end of the tunnel. Well,

 

life may not be a bowl of cherries but

the show must go on, the game’s worth

the candle so eat, drink and be merry,

but moderation is the best bet in health.

 

Don’t eat like a horse and drink like a fish,

that will make you as big as a house.

Please don’t grudge me my platitudes,

long story short, I’ve been up to my neck

 

in alligators and its been hard to maintain an

even keel, still, my father didn’t raise any

idiots and I want to age gracefully so I will

try to be cool and go with the flow. At the

 

end of the day that’s far better than getting

bent out of shape and popping one’s cork.

That’s probably even true at the end of

the night.

Say What!

November 27, 2015

Below is my latest poem, a satirical look at some pitfalls of communication.

 

Say What!

By Martin H. Levinson

 I

Say “Have a nice day” you’ll be taken to task

for not saying a great day or one that will last,

whatever you say may be misconstrued

so say precious little, merci beaucoup.

II

To put words in writing is palpably worse

than talking to people and here is the curse,

when you write something down farewell the excuse

you misheard heard what I said, j’accuse! j’accuse!

III

Nonverbal messages shun and negate

they confuse other humans which isn’t so great,

stay stiff as a board when speaking with others

except in the case if those others be lovers.

IV

To downgrade the chances of being misread

die and have people connect with you dead,

but beware this device is subject to fail

for they say in forensics the dead can tell tales.