BOOK XV

Wafting through the shimmering crystalline pillars
High atop divine Olympus, home of the eternal gods
The warm island breeze soothed the immortals
Who’d slept for weeks, months, even more
So fatigued were they after the Great War
Between the Woman of Wellesley and the Slayer of Blondes.
But, as all things under the star-filled sky must change,
For nothing is permanent, all is wiped away
By the great whiteboard eraser that is Time, the inexorable one,
So the wind through the gods’ palace turned cooler,
And then cold, causing the sleepers to awake.
Lovely Artemis opened her long-lashed eyes first.
Beside her lay the god of iron and steel, mighty Hephaestus,
Of the great rod, still covered in dark soot from his labors;
And great thunderclaps rhythmically sounded from his trumpet-like nose.
Seeing his filthy, sweat-covered body, the lithe mistress of the hunt,
Felt a pang or two of harsh shame, wondered what had she been thinking,
Covered herself and scurried away, her nose needing powdering
Or something.
Than diddle with mortals.In America’s gleaming capital,
At the highest court in the land, Justice Anthony Kennedy,
Pride of Sacramento, the Conservative Counselor,
Had decided to call it a day. Fishing in Idaho, traveling, teaching,
No more oyez, but rather oh, no: time to retire. But who to replace him?

That decision was not Kennedy’s but of course it would fall to
The Trump. Seeing this from on high, Hera had a mischievous idea.
Summoning Hermes the busy messenger, she whispered in his ear,
And down to Earth flew the winged one.
Dashing, devilish he looked! Irresistible!Then off!
Of course he didn’t flag down a cab, not the glorious god, no, he
Flew himself, to that most exclusive, the most elite of all parties
The Alfalfa Club! Yes, named for that humble plant that can’t seem
To get enough to drink – just like its members! Isn’t that funny?
(They thought so.) And no relation to Little Rascals, the racist show.
Oh, everyone who was anyone – and only them – would be there!
Rich or powerful would get you in: maybe one, preferably both!
Gates and Kelly and Tim Cook, the Apple-Man, and Bloomberg
Ex-Presidents, Bush and Clinton, and Condi and Rove
Bezos and Buffett, slimy little Sessions and Romney too;
Lovely Ivanka and mousey Jared, the Trump, still smarting
After the Correspondents’ Dinner, he took a pass.
The walking corpse Wilbur Ross, the zombie, they wheeled him in,
Old Henry Kissinger, oozing in through the door;
The powerful! The rich! The crème!
How the diamond brooches glinted! The Vera Wangs glittered!
The Patek Phillipes! The Hublots! The Tag Heuers!
We’re all friends here, they pumped each others’ hands,
Slapped each others’ backs, Republican, Democrat,
CEO, regulator, out there, that’s just a big old game,
They seemed to say, in here, our kind of people: Alfalfans!
The little people out there with their little problems –
Why, there was barely room on the tarmac at National Airport
For all the Gulfstreams!
For all teh GulfstreamsDivine Hermes, disguised in mortal form,
Seemed to glide from one luminary to the next, causing a stir among the ladies:
Was that Antonio? Tom the Cruiser? No silly, that was Matt, so sexy
In the Bourne Something-or other!
Because, you see, to each the god appeared
As whomever they most secretly desired.
As whomever they most secretly desiredBut it was Kellyanne he was after.
He sidled up next to her, she gasped; President Reagan! She started –
Blushed, face scarlet, to match her dress, trouble breathing!
It couldn’t be, her blue eyes darted from right to left, didn’t anyone else see?
The Gipper himself, walking among them, returned to us!
No, no, Hermes answered smoothly, I get that a lot,
You look so much like him! she gently placed her hand on his chest;
And Hermes then revealed his mission to her:
Well…Kellyanne, I just happened to be talking to Justice Kennedy the other day,
Nor could she still her racing heart, It IS him! The Great Communicator himself!
And she promised him, everything, everything.
And she promised him, everything, everythingAnd so it came to pass
Just a few months later, when Justice Kennedy arrived at the White House
To meet the jet-lagged Trump, Bloomingdale-sized bags under his eyes;
When the ancient jurist proposed his own replacement,
Unprecedented, really: the Trump agreed, with no argument.

That evening, in his Georgetown flat, sprawled out on his leather La-Z-boy,
Glued to the NBA finals, a classic of sport, for all time,
Durant and Curry and Lebron, dueling gladiators on the well-waxed parquet,
Dribbling for the ages! Three pointers for all eternity!
Brett the Bud-Man, Baron of the Brewski, couldn’t take his eyes away,
Sucking down the cold ones. Loved basketball, did the belter of beers
Played at Georgetown Prep, Junior Varsity at Yale, pride of New Haven;
Now the boss of the District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Chipping away at abortion rights and Obamacare and environmental protections,
When his iPhone buzzed, with the inevitable belch, a good one,
Deep and strong, followed by a loud expletive decrying the unwanted interruption,
But then, the fateful words: “Hold for the President!”
How proud his wife, years before, she’d worked for W, personal secretary,
Now Cool Hand Kavanaugh, headed for the Supreme Court,
Highest in the land!
Highest in the land!But first he’d have to be confirmed.
Within days the dastardly Democrats began to array their forces,
No, they didn’t like him, in just a blink of an eye raised one awful specter
After another: he’d overturn Roe! Drill in pure unspoiled Alaska!
Screw the consumers! Worst of all, he’d let the Trump get away with …
Whatever he wanted! No less determined was the Team of the Trump,
A genius of jurisprudence, they hailed the Yachtsman of Yale,
Causing the Budster to burst with pride.
Causing the Budster to burst with prideSeeing the mortals below
Calling their ranks to muster, rallying their troops once more,
The Olympians high on their mountain began to take an interest
Delighted especially was Ares, for quarreling and discord was dear to him;
How this annoyed his father, Zeus of the Thunderbolt, awake now,
“Hateful are you, son, for thrilling in battle, in others’ pain and suffering!”
But the war-god ignored the gatherer of clouds, smirked even,
And proceeded on with his terrible work.
For Queen Hera it was all her plan, to get some measure of revenge,
Having lost to the Trump once before;
Having lost to the Trump once before;Hephaestus, on the other side,
He’d quaffed quite a few with Kavanaugh back in the day, took his side,
And willowy Artemis gulped it down too, her stein full of chagrin,
Back with her sooty lover, and he by his hard-hammered anvil, she stood.
Athena took her place with Hera, only winsome Aphrodite, love-goddess,
Nowhere to be found.
Nowhere to be foundThe hearings began.
The first day, little to report: each of the Sublime Senators made statements
Taking all day, Cool Kavvy just sat there in the witness chair, listened:
First gravelly-throated Grassley, the ancient Iowan, praised Kavanaugh,
Years of distinguished jurisprudence and wise decisions handed down;
Then Feinstein of California, the San Franciscan, the coastal elite chic,
Ripped him, worried about Roe, affirmative action, don’t need a man of Trump
No, sir! Then Hatch, the Utah man, spoke in favor, Hawai’i’s Hirono next
Back and forth, for and against, Republican, Democrat,
Eleven for and ten against: a conclusion that left nothing in doubt.
Brett the Brewmeister leaned forward, adopted a serious air,
Pretended to pay attention – oh, he’d learned that well on the bench!
But inwardly, his mind wandered, back through the alleyways of memory,
What was it that led him to this place? To this unparalleled moment?
He recalled – yes, he was a junior then, in sunny New Haven,
The semester just underway, he and his pals skipped out of course,
Caught a concert, then off to a watering hole, Demery’s by name,
Slurping a Singapore sling, who did he see? Was that –
Slurping a Singapore sling, who did he see? Was that –Ali Campbell?
UB40’s frontman? They’d just seen him! Red, red wine!
Well, the Proper Preppie, his little green Izod alligator
Gleaming, wanted an autograph! Well, why not? He was entitled!
To – well – pretty much everything. Right?
Daddy-money! Brett, the Boy from Bethesda!
Fuck YOU! The not-at-all-a-rock-star shouted, Billy Costello, actually,
Ran the gas station two blocks down, hated these college pricks,
So Kool Man Kavanaugh tossed the Sling right in his face.
The police of course were called, but – come on –
These were rich white Yalie kids. Please.
Now that was a bar exam, he thought, and at the recollection
The Bud-man nearly cracked a smile.
The Bud-man nearly cracked a smilaTerrible Ted was talking now,
The Cruzster, even his fellow GOPpies thought him lower than whale dung
And that’s low. Then white-haired Whitehouse, of Rhode Island, took the mike,
On they droned, all praying that the networks would pick up their sound bite.
Me, me, pick me, I’m very indignant! The most outraged! I’m so … incensed!
Kavanaugh’s mind again drifted off, recalling a glorious youthful crusade
Serving under Ken Starr, the Texas tormentor, nemesis of presidents,
Taunting the man from Arkansas, threatening his women until they gave it up,
How the Brettster idolized him, learned from him,
No wonder Starr gave that most critical task, the writing of the Report,
To his star student, yes, Brett, Baron of the Brewskis, he
Wrote it down, every last little detail, it was he who described
The stain on the dress, in infinite, in lurid detail; had to admit,
Maybe he’d get some girl to try the cigar thing too – it aroused him!
Never once did he pity poor Monica, no remorse at all!
Never once did he pity poor Monica, no remorse at all! He looked up.
Now Crapo, now Klobuchar and Kennedy! On Sasse, on Harris!
Durbin and Flake! Tillis and Booker! They all had their say! Every one!
Tomorrow, it was his turn.
Tomorrow it was hist turnAs he stood, he noticed Feinstein
Why was she smiling? Suddenly Kool Hand Kavanaugh felt a chill!

As well he should have, for on the morrow his comfortable little world
Exploded! Oh, yes, for Hera, teaming with Athena and Leto and Demeter,
Hestia, Tyche, all the goddesses, goddesses all, and most of all,
Divine Aphrodite, she’d been there that night, back in Bethesda
Yes, that night, that party.
Yes, that night, that party!Some randy boys from the prep school
Invited some girls over, parents were gone, date night, off to see
An Officer and a Gentleman, back when Gere was good.
How the Bud-man and his pals were chugging ‘em that night!
Burps and farts and farts and burps! One six-pack after another!
Thriller and MTV and Olivia Newton-John and Eye of the Tiger
Well, high school studs, that was Aphrodite’s thing,
Lots of energy! Staying power! Again and again!
So she wouldn’t be alone she hoovered up some fifteen-year-olds.
But while the other boys hung on her, born of a clam,
The Baron of Brews, the Perfect Preppie, he insulted the Lady of Love!
His eyes wandered elsewhere, landed upon some innocent schoolgirl.
And when Feinstein read the name of the lass,
Pale, pale went the mug of the Proper Preppie.
Pale, pale went the mug of the Proper Preppie.Chrissie, he remembered her
Dimly, he was pretty trashed that night, didn’t yet know how to control it,
That long blonde hair! Enticing, seductive smile! Delicate,
Oh-so-feminine voice, a stirring in his loins, and he couldn’t resist!
Oh-so-feminine voice, a stirring in his loins, and he couldn’t resist! .But she could.
He tried, oh how he tried, held her writhing body down, pawed at her,
Screaming, she fended him off, pushed him away
Ran away crying, oh, the names he called her! All the Bud-men had a good laugh;
And as Dawn rose the next morning, all was forgotten.
And as Dawn rose the next morning, all was forgotten.But not by her.
Nor by the enraged goddess, who swore karma on Cool Hand Kavvy.
Horror compounded! They – they invited her to testify!
Delayed the hearings for her! Then – before everyone, his wife, his children,
The Trump, there she was, recalling that night of high school hijinks,
On all the networks! (Not that the Trump cared: “my kind of guy,”
He muttered, before Kellyanne, the soul of tact, advised him to shut it.)
All day, a full day, she answered questions, in that thin, reedy voice,
So vulnerable, so terrified … so believable.
He watched it; lovely Ashley, his bride of fourteen years, stared
Open-mouthed; and somewhere, somewhere Monica was laughing.
Well, it was his turn the next day, and he let ‘em have it!
The anger spilled from his mouth like brew from a busted keg,
It was high school, fer cryin’ out loud! You’ve destroyed my family!
Unproven allegations! He said, she said!
Every heard of #MeToo, Judge Kavanaugh? Feinstein asked.
I was number one in my class! Busted my butt in academics!
I played sports! Captain of the varsity basketball team!

Salt tears of rage poured down the Proper Preppie’s face;
The cameras arrayed before him zoomed in for that!
It wasn’t even Senators questioning him now, a staffer
Calmly asking, what about Julie Swetnick? Who is Renate Dolphin,
Of whose “education” all of you boys wrote about in your yearbooks?
Judy Munro? Debbie Ramirez?
Judy Munro? Debbie Ramirez? .Never! Shouted Kavanaugh,
Not guilty! Everyone praises my judicial temperament!
She’s lying! They’re all lying! Revenge of the Clintons!

(And yes, up in Chappauqua, Bill and Hillary, they were loving this,
Shared a bucket of well-buttered popcorn!)
And the Snivelling Snitches, ecstasy! The theatre!
Headlines every day! Heads babbling by the hour on CNN, Fox, MSNBC!
Twitter a-flutter!
Twitter a-flutter!.Not that any of it mattered. Never did.
The GOPpies had the votes. Always did.

On his first day, all the Justices, geriatrics all, came to greet him, to
Shake his hand, none more tepidly than Ruth, Justice Ginsburg,
None more enthusiastically than Justice Thomas.