Kennedy

1. Kennedy

Kennedy! The last brother Plunges, orca-sleek To the black sea—elected To heaven, straight out Of the Senate. Well: All glory is a wonder, All greatness is glorious, All mighty things are great. Any passing duke Commands black cloth— Whatever we recall Of the man inside his suit. And fan and hater agree: Kennedy is not Kennedy. Kennedy is the show: Writer and producer, Best boy and grip, Each millionth polyp Within the great reef, That armored creature— The family machine, Our political design In perfect Florentine. Canst thou draw out Leviathan, with a hook? Or his tongue, with a line That thou lettest down? Think not of Cromwell’s end; Hope not to hang the dead, Not actor nor his show. All mighty things are great. And greatness seldom slain, And death is no disaster; Any decent whale-tick Finds its subsequent whale. Behemoth lives. Lay thy hand, Recall the battle, do no more.

II. Cromwell Beside, amongst the polyps— Things are not so great. Your Richard is not your Oliver. Crudely, the production Has lost its lead. There Are no more Kennedys, There will be none. The work Of course goes on: each President now is Kennedy, As Kennedy that man With cigarette holder; And behind him a million Eager innocent larvae, All swimming to the stale. This soap long since found Its formula. It cannot change. Nor has it any shortage Of shark for its remoras. But—but, the magic? Alas, progressives, for You too greatness passes. Science has not perfected The permanent Kennedy. Lucifer gets old and dies; His ring is hacked in half, For Abaddon and Dis; Ground in time to paint On flocks of gilded imps. Your future, polyps: gibbering. Puerile, impotent gibbering, Infinitely predictable, Boring as a wooden board. The magic does not return. Youth is a one-time thing, Ages age like men. Deal.

III. Chernenko

So greatness passing, This Kennedy world, Safer from all enemy Than ever before, is losing Mere colors in its ink. Think of Brazil! Glory Of a new forest city, A capital in pure concrete, Ordered and progressive, Both free and free of rats. What is it now? Slum, Ruled by ferocious thieves. I exaggerate. Slightly. Polyps, your grandfathers Were kings; your fathers Spanned the sea; you spin Soft rock in the cellar Of a continent. Less fun. Where are the postcards, Machine, of that new world You made of the Third? What was it meant to be, And what did it become? Or at home? Polyps, Where is Detroit? Is it Somewhere in your reef? Could we maybe get it back? The future was won. Yet Weirdly, it turned gray, Emitting serious stench. Reed begat Chernenko, Croly produced Pelosi, Alinsky made Hillary. The pattern here is sure. Our dreamers, plumed, Coached in rich cars Of past prey, sleep, Stretched thin by power, On power’s goose bed, Dream in monochrome Or not at all. The herd, Below, shuffles and wilts; Few but the worst still breed. Observe our Kennedy world! Not immortal, but far too near. Still tomorrow exists, O gardeners of weeds— Somehow, where or when. Its message is as follows: Thank you for your efforts. They were nobly conceived, For the most part honest, And not without some style. Today, we film in color. Our gardens are in order, Our roses bud, our children Learn. You need not approve.