Jeffery Berg
Jeffery Berg
     
       
Dick
 
Angler, Darth Vader, Evil Dick, 
Tricky Dick, Jr., Puppetmaster, 
Fuckoff Lad, Torture King—Dick, 
I’m not sorry that I laughed
at the Mr. Potter crack
when you were rolled out
in a wheelchair on Inauguration Day
the day you finally became
a relic.  Many stack you up
to villains—forceful and dark 
and yet you are nothing 
but a trick—a curt, expressionless 
slab of white flab with a sickly heart 
determined somehow
to stay within us 
forever.  In all your stillness, 
you have no sense of peace.
You with Bush 
on Ulrickson’s New Yorker cover
in mimic of Brokeback
the year you shot Whittington,
the year after Katrina.  To think
Michelle Williams was in Dick
the forgotten 1998 comedy
about Watergate, and years later, 
the year we’d begin to put you to rest, 
she’d be caught 
by paparazzi on Smith Street
looking frail, griefstricken
shortly after the death of Heath
her Brokeback co-star,
her ex.  How tragic, 
in the dearth of ick
surrounding you 
and the years of your reign. 
In 2000, on the snowy TV, 
I watched you debate 
with criss-crossed legs
and remembered nothing.
In 2001, I watched “Survivor”
and contestant Michael Skupkin
breathed smoke, fainted into fire, 
burned his hands, and ran
into the ocean, wailing. 
The skin peeled-back 
off his knuckles.  All week, 
CBS played commercials: 
the most shocking “Survivor” ever.  
And I watched Skupkin 
evacuated by helicopter, 
fifth place contestant Elisabeth Filarski 
on the shore, longingly looking up, 
bandana round her crown. 
Soon she would have a voice
on “The View,” pointing her finger out
to the side, and defending your war,
your party.  In 2006, 
the poet polled the class,
Who wants to write political poetry?
No one.  In the declaration year 2003,
some poets constructed 
an anti-war chapbook
but were soon worn out 
by their limitations, 
by the years of destruction
and nothing. I watch you now, 
in the nine years that have passed 
since 2000, the TV 
louder, larger,
the graphics bright
and blaring, ticker tape, 
and I wish you would just give it up,
fly-fish yourself off in Wyoming. 
You look worn, 
guilty 
as if sanded down 
by all of us 
and what ran through our wires:
the mundane chitchat 
of all our hours.