Running for President

It all starts with a mirror. It starts
with a gap between whatever there
is there and how that there appears
and it starts when the mirror
is everywhere and still nowhere
a there. You got a mouth on you
for a mirror. So what? I just came here
to play yacht tennis and glow orange,
and it looks like yacht tennis
has been postponed indefinitely
I don’t know why, get ready
motherfuckers! how about this glow,
right?! I just came here to remind you
I separated two brains with a knife
and I can’t believe the hailing
ever stopped reflecting off my cutlery
and now I can barely stay awake
long enough to ask where I am
but America, would it be so bad
if I came to in the highest office
in the land? I can separate all
your brains, one from another,
America. Are you even yourself
anymore, America? Who’s asking?
Shut up, you stupid blond mirror.
I still have a knife, America,
is what I’m saying. I look great in it.
I am a goober who wants to lick
your heart, your heart’s a tub
of Valentine’s Day candy, mine
mine mine mine mine, right?
This is the highest student council seat
in the world and it’s treasurer,
I get to go to the fountain any time
I want, only the fountain founts
money, mine only kind of roughage.
This is the highest student council seat
in the world and it’s secretary
who gets to tell everyone else
what to do, and I’m like
finally. I want everyone singing
Pete Seeger’s kind of rolling stone, hey
you, kids! Get on to
my lawn! especially those
who’ve never had a lawn to be on
before. I remember the last century
and I want to die punching
at its corroded, obsolete armor until
I punch light into my dying face.
Very presidential. The now guy said
he’d take a scalpel to government waste
but I will literally take a literal scalpel
to the literal brain of the literal government
as soon as a literal someone tells me
where that is. I will weaponize myself
in order to disappoint you for years
but shush, it’s the time of the day
I devote to piling brick on brick on brick
like a form of acceptable wall.
More like single prayer healthcare, right?
I say a lot of things, and after that
I say a lot more things. I think
very few things, and even fewer things
I don’t say. I don’t know, it sure sounds
like I think it’s true, doesn’t it?
In the end, doesn’t it come
to the same thing: killing those
who get between you and your mirrors
and punishing their bloodlines
for generations? You think you want me
to apologize but you really want me
to splinter this mirror into shanks
to bury in whatever you’re afraid of.
Blow really hard, bellow like a giant bellows
stoking the dumbest fire and you shall
propel me, O citizen who has been
strip-mined and waits to be sold
for scrap. You will have moments
where you gulp back what feels like a civics
textbook, but by then I’ll be smeared
across a stage, a smugness generously umbered
all over a confirmation. “Do you sweat
on the bible” the wax penguin will say
and I will say “I do, I really do, I sweat
on the swear that is the gutted swan
that is the bible. Now swing that gavel,
penguin, and let’s see
what we can get up to.”


  • 5.10.16




Marc McKee is the author of five collections of poetry: What Apocalypse? (New Michigan Press, 2008); Fuse (Black Lawrence Press, 2011); Bewilderness (Black Lawrence Press, 2014); Consolationeer (Black Lawrence Press, 2017); and Meta Meta Make-Belief, forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2019. Recent poems appear in Rockhurst Review, The Laurel Review, Copper Nickel, Memorious, Southern Indiana Review, and are forthcoming from Bennington Review, Inter|rupture, Los Angeles Review, and The Offending Adam. He teaches at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where he lives with his wife, Camellia Cosgray, and their son, Harold.

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