Would you trust a Chief of Staff named Scooter Libby? Sounds like a minor character from the Andy Griffith show. And his last name is the first name of my first wife, ecch!
To more serious matters, if I can seriously engage you in a serious discussion about seriousness, which should be taken seriously and by no means should be subjected to any superficial dismissals of its abiding importance, which I herewith most seriously aver, confirm, and opine.
To speak seriously is to speak from the mind and heart and balls, but as I am incapable of Matthew Arnold's "high seriousness" (which is why Milton and Wordsworth bore me), I shall likely remain a very minor poet with a very good sense of humor, however dark my humor may be--which may mean I should be taken seriously for my dark humor.
How dark is my humor? I find death exceedingly funny. Though a Christian I even mock God. Why? Because the Bible says, "Be not deceived, for God is not mocked." If God cannot be mocked I cannot mock him, therefore am committing no sin. My chief complaint of God is that he has much too much faith in us, as if he's gambling our fate on drawing to an inside straight.
My poor hypochondriacal daughter, Rachel, used to ask me when growing up what this or that bump or pain meant. As a doctor, and with a straight face, I would say: "I think it's cancer, dear." Afterward she'd yell at me. So I afflicted my very own spawn with my dark humor.
Seriously, while some rise by their gravity I seeme to sink by my levity. (I stole that line from a curate standing futilely under the miter-tree).
Now, if you'll just bear with me, I'll come up with some truly serious comments as a challenge to my basic flippancy.
We cannot leave Iraq now or the future troops who die will be robbed of the honor of not dying in vain, like the heroic Halliburton chess pieces that have gone before. How could we deprive them of this honor? It's simply unpatriotic. We must stay the course in order that more may die to prove others did not die in vain, though I have not come up with a precise number yet--I leave that to the Pentagon. (I stole this basic idea from Doonesbury).
Nevertheless, I did write a serious poem about the Vietnam Memorial, which I'll paste in below to prove I can be serious to all serious doubters of my seriousness.
At the Vietnam War Memorial
Black granite stretches its harsh, tapering wings
up to pedestrian-level grass but sucks me
down, here, at the intersection of names.
I forgive, I must, though I wish something
could heal this gash in the earth.
Behold, all theorists, the price of theory:
extreme unction by napalm and blood,
buried whole or in pieces.
The VA grants prostheses
but not minds free of horror.
In jungles tumescent, through villages
of straw, by the Mekong where catfish
sleep in mud-heaven, we tramped,
disarmed mines and flushed tunnels,
shot women and children for potential collaboration,
smoked Thai-stick until stuporous
and still the sound of Charlie
played on every frond.
Beat against this polished rock, America,
this vast projective surface for your sins,
wear your heart out. It's not how many died
but that they died in vain, achieving
nothing except our grief for them.
It's said you cannot write a good poem
until recollected in tranquility.
Let this be a bad poem, bad as the war,
dividing author from reader and reader from page.
Let it drive a wedge between fathers and sons:
let fathers mistake rebellion for disloyalty,
let sons mistake honor for stupidity,
let senators mistake appropriation for commitment,
let mothers confuse waste with sacrifice,
let sisters turn to prostitution to forget,
Let teachers suicide in public in partial recompense,
let preachers castrate themselves for passive assent,
let everything in America that breathes
hang its head in irrefragable shame.
Here is the legacy of your assumptions,
here the necropolis of your dark-suited wisdom:
A city set in a pit cannot be hid..
(published in the Adirondack Review)
Now go have a drink and consider writing a letter to your congressman to get the hell out of Iraq and let the civil war begin until another strongman restores order.
Doesn't anybody at Foggy Bottom read history? I guess they're more interested in writing it.
C. E. Chaffin