9-3 poem2

The Center for Literate Values ~ Defending the Western tradition of responsible individualism, disciplined freedom, tasteful creativity, common sense, and faith in a supreme moral being.



A Common-Sense Journal of Literary and Cultural Analysis

9.3 (Summer 2009)






A Politician Counts His Sheep

Alan McGinnis


Why help them?  The poor,

elderly, chronically ill, unemployed,

uninsured, sexually/racially victimized, bipolar…

Why?  a) decency; b) votes (of which they have many).

Take a).  What’s decency?  It’s…

the custom.  They’re starving, dying, etc.—making

nauseabund images on TV.

Yes, but… customs change, you know.  Values

evolve.  (Etymology?)  Think Malthus.  And the pollution

of overpopulation, and… and the joy-of-terminated-suffering

(weigh good and bad there—who says what’s true?).

A better future is a clear good.  Better one die

(here and there) than many suffer (Benjamin Franklin?).

That leaves votes.  H = V.  But won’t they vote you

out—those helpless—when IOUs fund no more meds?

They all need so needily and pay so nothingly.

Then indict the rich awash in their stinted lucre—

Baby-killers!  Cheats!  Parasites!  (etc.—take

a note to Wall Street: time to lie low).

Then thin out the needy as they righteously riot

with a) pandemics (bird flu, swine flu, whatever’s

in the vault), and b) conventional wars

(nerve gas, drones… maybe a small, clean nuke).

Manage them: deflect and thin out.

Invent the world God would have made

if He had not had to be invented (Franklin, too? Mark Twain?)

Rough out, erase, refine.  At last a nod.


No sign of dawn yet.  The season draws night on.