BOOK VII

Far above the land of men, on the lofty peak of windy Olympus,
The bitter struggle raged, and of all the immortal gods and goddesses
Only Ares found joy in it, he the god of war, fed on the conflict,
Strengthened by the battle, invigorated, as were his trusted henchmen,
Rout and Chaos, and Carlson too.
Rout and Chaos, and Carlson too.Sing to me, you Muses, immortal divas
You whose divine screams put to shame Motown and MTV,
You, Muses, whose gentle shrieks chronicle the doings of the gods
Hey Muses: Spill it.
Hey Muses: Spill it. White-armed Hera, consort to mighty Zeus, the Thunderer,
From the mountain she issued orders, directed her loyal ones, her immortals,
Frustrate the thains of the Trump! And from peachy Atlanta to Seattle,
Iowa to frozen Maine, wingèd Hermes riding the wind,
Took up the queen’s challenge, roused the faithful.
But not without problems was he, for on his way to Madison,
Wisconsin’s capital, between two blue lakes, his shoes
O, those divine sneakers that gifted him with fast flight,
One golden knot with perfect bow came untied,
Or did playful Aphrodite in her mischief pull on the bow? Maia’s son
Crashed in Lake Huron, the gods’ messenger skipped across the water
Right past the Badger State, home of the Packers, Lombardi’s team.
Later he would regret that.
Later he would regret that Apollo, the wise one, the reasoner,
With unconquerable logic he guided the pens of the influencers,
Articles in Foreign Policy and The New Republic, brilliant all,
Masterful induction, clever inference and indisputable disputation
Read and savored by the choice elite few. With deft arguments
Apollo’s words, asked, how could anyone vote for the Orangeman?
And in haughty Boston and through the halls of Stanford and Harvard,
They read, sniffed their approval, and watched PBS of the high falutes.

But the iron-worker Hephaestus and lusty Artemis,
Their approach, so different.
Their approach, so different. A tiny little germ, a virus,
A puff from Artemis’ sweet cheeks, and into Hillary’s body
Pneumonia, they said, and then – horrors! – the
Woman of Wellesley tripped getting into her limo, and
Happy Hannity hurrahed, so frail must she be! Songs of joy they sang,
All the right-thinking rags: unfit! Diseased! they cried!
And Big Bill O’Reilly, so haughty, admonished us all, every one of us,
In somber tones reminding us that our leaders must have strength,
To fight the terrorists! Wall off the immigrants! Keep the poor –
Away from us! Nor did Hillary’s stumble escape the Trump,
“I don’t know folks, do you think Hillary could stand up here
For an hour?” he asked of one cheering crowd after another.

Did they, with disdain, dare discuss the dalliances of their man?
Did they play the horrid Access tape over and over? No!
Stormy was becalmed; Karen quieted; Ivana and Marla,
Silenced by NDA’s. Did they harp on him cheating his business partners?
How his businesses, like his casino – a casino – had a nasty habit
Of failing? Belly up? With long trails of desperate creditors?
Nasty allegations, fake news to be sure, not worth your time –
No! They left all those along.
Their approach, so different. Such was not the case for the Prima Pantsuit.
As in a winter storm, the icy sleet coursing through the wind,
Stinging the face of the lonely climber, not once, not twice,
But with every frozen pellet smashing into the exposed skin
The lips numb, frostbite, dread killer of the snowy arctic, attacks,
And the climber weakens, the summit ever further, further –
So too across the great currents of the internet did Hillary’s emails
Swirl, every one wounding the White Woman of Wellesley
On Fallon, Kimmel, Colbert, before holy Scottpelley and Muir
Chuck Todd and Holt of the high forehead did she apologize
Again and again, poignant, heartfelt contrition, heartfelt regret,
Anything, anything, to make the story go away. And never once did she,
Nor did any of those distinguished interlocutors ask the Trump,
Perhaps he too, in fairness, could release his emails?
And yet! And yet, as the day approached, as the election neared,
The storm lightened, the sleet seemed to moderate,
The evening news led with other stories, not the damned emails.
As the storm lifted, again the citadel in New York began to glisten;
Hope, which gives us all strength, filled warm Democratic hearts
And Mook and Brazile and Bill himself slept a peaceful sleep;
While slowly, fitfully at first, then steadily, the polls began to rise.
Across the Nation, from Richmond to Omaha to Dubuque and
Sacramento too, they, the People of America, seething, swarming
Began to think as one, all together now: well, she’s not so bad.

But iron-chested Hephaestus and scheming Artemis hatched a plan,
From airy Olympus she herself sat and typed into Outlook
One divine finger tap at a time, for the gods do not touch type,
To a Certain Very Good Friend in Russia, land of the Slavs.
That Certain Friend read the email, vodka-heavy eyes suddenly open,
And from a windowless room in Moscow a message
To Brussels, then Paris, then Prague, then it found its way
To Pennsylvania Avenue, not to the home of saintly Obama, no
But number nine thirty-five, the Federal Bureau,
And its towering Director, brown-eyed Comey of Yonkers,
Pride of the University of Chicago Law School.

O weak-spined Comey! The very same day, the very same day,
You argued, no, don’t tell the American people about Putin,
How he’s hacking, he’s hacking! posting on Facebook and Twitter,
Don’t tell! The People can’t handle it! That very day, do tell,
Go ahead, stand before the press and the cameras and the microphones,
“More emails!”
“More emails!” Everything that happened thereafter,
The dire calamities to come, you set them in motion,
Made them happen! What could you have been thinking?
Our happy ending, our blessings transformed into curses,
You, tall one, caused it all. “More emails,” breathlessly you said,
To all who would listen: Congress, CNN, exultant Fox!
“Pertinent to the investigation!” More emails!
Just when all thought the storm had passed!
And Holt and Scottpelley and all of them jumped on the story,
For scandal drives ratings, ratings, revenue; and revenue, bonuses!
New cars, houses in the Hamptons, the Gulfstreams they craved!

Like a hurricane in the Atlantic that weakens just briefly,
Causing sighs of relief, only to revive, its gusts stronger than before,
So the tale of the emails once again stoked a terrible fury!
For Huma, horrified, Hillary’s pal, Weiner’s woman, had been hacked.
Sweet Huma, loyal Huma, the dick-pic’er’s mate.
Gorya, Sasha and Seryozha, they’d been at it again!
How the Trump and his merry band of deplorables gloated!
For days the G-Men, inheritors of Hoover’s great legacy
Pored over them, salivating over how Hillary accepted a meeting,
Thanked someone for their support, declined a dinner,
Suggested a particular dress for Chelsea, pure of heart
Every message banal, innocent, yet with each passing second
From Sacramento to Dubuque to Omaha in Nebraska,
All the way to Richmond, they said, well, I guess she is bad.
And still no one asked after the Trump’s emails.

“Lord Zeus,” began Hera of the well-turned ankle, “beloved husband,”
And the Thunderer groaned; nothing good every came of such a greeting.
“The world of men – and women – has been turned upside down,
This horrid war, caused by your child, your daughter by Leto, the slut,
Artemis herself, and our child Hephaestus, challenged in the mind,
This war threatens to bring down both heaven and earth.
You, O my lord, you have always been the one, stability you say,
Before I was blind, now I see the wise truth in your words.
I dared think a mortal woman could rule from the House of White,
Give enlightened laws to all the world, but now I see
The grand forces arrayed against her, against all our fair sex,
Surely, my gracious liege, can you not intervene? Please,
Burn the capacious rump of the Trump with a mighty bolt
Stay him from the presidency, help Hillary herself
Take her rightful place.” The Thunderer listened to her words
And took them seriously, contemplated her petition,
Pausing before issuing his judgment, his flashing eyes bored into her,
And blue-eyed Hera herself trembled ever so slightly,
Never having played the role of supplicant before her husband.
“I have been observing the events on Earth and among the great gods,”
Olympus’ ruler began, he of the flowing beard,
“And I have considered your plea, eloquent in words.”
A long silence ensued; stillness reigned.
All Olympus held its breath, no sparrow sang nor wolf howled,
No mighty lion stalked its prey nor eagle flew. All awaited.

Then Hera, shaking her long-tressed head, exclaimed, “Well?”
“Well – what?” barked her eternal companion, covered in glory.
“What have you decided?” Hera inquired.
“What have you decided?” Hera inquired.“About …?”
But before she could reply, mighty Zeus rallied:
“I have decided…” replied the King of the Gods, “decided …
I shall decide after my nap.” With that Zeus stood,
His mighty form terrifying in its strength and power,
And retired, leaving Hera alone, to mutter these immortal phrases,
“Oh Zeus, how far can it be, thy great bearded head, thy white flowing curls,
How far up your ass is it lodged, all so dark, fragrant, squishy
And how foolish am I having spent hours on that silly speech?”

Yet Hera was wrong, for the Thunderer had every intent, every desire
To set things right. Returning to his manly boudoir, he took a seat,
Finding a golden chalice filled with wine on the dresser, made from heads of Titans
“A special present for daddy,” a note read, “love, A.”
Smiling, he pictured his lovely daughter, then wondered:
Which one? The virgin Artemis, daughter of Leto?
Or divine Aphrodite, who tempts all gods and men with her beauty?
He pondered for a long moment; then: “No matter.”
One sip, and the Thunderer was out, down for the count.
“For how long?” asked Hephaestus of the lusty Artemis,
“Just past election day,” she replied, “when evil Hera,
Queen of the gods, will face her final humiliation.”

And so the back and forth continued, the great tides of war
Smashing against the rocks, then receding,
Only to return, more frightful than before,
Unstayed by the calming hands of the lord of thunder.
Reporters of the New York Times, the snooty nose-speakers,
Revealed the Trump, the loophole-finder, had avoided taxes,
Kept hundreds of millions from the greedy hands of the poor
And in his own fleshy, teeny-tiny digits, which so often
Fingered the Magnificent Mushroom.
Fingered the Magnificent Mushroom.But few cared. Because
The emails! And there was one, one damnable bunch of bits
From: Donna Brazile; To: John Podesta; Subj: Debate Questions
O that this ever saw the shining light of an American day!
“Sometimes I get the questions in advance,” her awful words,
Sometimes? In advance? The debate questions?!
What, Donna, did you do? Steal the mimeograph carbons?
Rummage through an office dumpster amongst the coffee grounds
Banana peels, yesterday’s stinking rotting lunch scraps,
Found ‘em! Send ‘em to Hillary right now so she can cram!
Not that either of the two worthies ever actually answered the questions
No, they glared, argued, talked over, sniped, but answer? Not so much –
But there it was, a gun! That reeked of smoke! the Trumpies crowed,
Cheating! Corruption! Corruption! Cheating!
Cheating! Corruption! Corruption! Cheating!.Donna, O Donna! How could you?

And then again the tide turned once more: those nosy G-Men sniffed about
Manafort, Trump’s man, although no longer, the Orange One,
Wharton’s pride, had fired his campaign manager long ago,
No hard feelings. Just business. But the gallant gumshoes
Smelling borscht, began looking east, to golden-domed Kiev, and
Just how much cheese did Manafort manage to purloin there?
Asked appropriately concerned high-foreheaded Holt,
Followed by Scottpelley, beloved scion of Old Man Danrather,
And then Muir, lord of the young demographic, Jennings’ successor
All rejoicing, watching the Nielsens rise, their bonuses with them
Maybe not one but two Range Rovers! Central Park condos!
And Moonves, Herman’s son and Lord of the Black Rock,
Who said of the Trump, “Not good for America, but damn good for CBS,”
He longed for that chateau in Bordeaux, loved to say it,
“Chateau in Bordeaux,” and now he began to wonder
Might it not be possible after all?

 

Continue to Book VIII