A Political Ghost Story
On nights like this, when it’s black as pitch
and the wind wails through the sky,
you needn’t fear the ghost nor witch,
nor even the evil eye.
For there is a real beast out there,
as real as real can be.
I’ve seen him, truly. Yes, I have.
You can certainly trust me.
The Strawman prowls about in disguise,
looking like you or I,
but his soul is rotten to the core,
and I’ll tell you the reason why.
He doesn’t feel like a proper man,
he has no love nor care,
he only lives—if we call it ‘life’—
to hurt and kill and scare.
Rather than food, the Strawman feeds
on poverty and pain.
Injustice is his favorite meal;
equality, his bane.
And thus, he toils both night and day
to keep himself well fed,
planting seeds of ignorance
to harvest fear and dread.
Now do beware, my dear young friends,
lest you meet him on your way,
Throw your hands upon your ears;
don’t listen to what he’ll say,
for to even treat the Strawman’s words
like those of your fellow man
is to put yourself within his power,
and give in to his plan.
For the Strawman tells, oh, many a tale,
of how he wants to do good,
but he has no heart beneath his straw,
no conscience made of wood.
Oh, he’ll try to coax and cajole you
into trying to see his side,
but really he wants to control you
as he opens his straw-mouth wide.
Before you know it, he’ll gobble your rights,
swallowing one by one
the things our ancestors fought to achieve,
till you’re othered, oppressed, undone.
If you look down his throat to his Strawman gut
you’ll see all that he’s devoured:
the ashes of tolerance, liberty’s bones,
the dreams of the disempowered.
“You’re mischaracterizing my stance,”
he says, picking at his splintery teeth
and flicking aside what was once our pride:
the rights our forefathers bequeathed.
“That isn’t what I believe,” he’ll sing,
in a voice as sweet as molasses,
as he crawls past the corpse of his latest meal:
the disenfranchised masses.
So let us pray, till break of day,
not to let the Strawman in.
Good American Girls and Boys
will never let him win!
Keep an open mind, and a watchful eye,
and a ready tongue to report
if you see the Strawman stalking around,
so we can cut his skulking short.
We’ll throw a light on his wicked lies
to protect our homes and our town.
Together, all our enlightened minds
can burn the Strawman down!
The salty poem, and an explanation:
Some silly poems, to cleanse the palate: