His image on a penny, staid, familiar,
a child’s portrait, his kinder-garden assignment;
There he is, half risen from seat, box above the stage,
smoke still rising from the revolver’s blast,
light around him, dark background figure in contrast;
You can almost hear the sound
as actors, theater-goers, the world, look up to see;
or pen raised, signing the proclamation,
or standing in the battlefield
speaking to the multitude.
Then this imaginary entranceway
like to a country fair:
if he pays his money, will they let him in?
A whole gallery of pictures:
Most are bearded.
The state of the nation
The state of the state
One must always stand with uncertainty
as to perpetuity, as to one’s legacy,
sitting there in that hugely open cupola,
grasping the arms of this marble armchair
as if to prevent his dislodgement,,
like obliterated Zeus at the Temple of Olympia
or Akhenaten, noseless, faceless,
stripped to the alabaster,
all the waters rising, the tide, the rivers,
annihilating even the memory
of the why and the wherefore.