Art and Literature

July 4th Special — TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER — a senate sonnet project

Sweet cup cake with USA flag decoration on top on wooden background,selective focus

Friends — one might argue that we are living in surrealistic times here in the United States. One has only to open one’s laptop or peruse the local paper to see magically real headlines and stories which make one wonder what dimension one is actually living in.

In honor of this spectacularly unreal-feeling historical moment, here is a — hopefully, every-growing  — sampler of sonnets from some wonderful writers, about the real people who work for us in our Senate. This grouping will be updated as sonnetors contribute work.

Nota bene: Senators are sonnetized by state in alphabetical order.

Alabama — Luther Strange, Mare Hake

Luther Johnson Strange the third could have been a different man

named with Johnson in the moniker, born in Birmingham,

a man with lawyerly tendencies and appeals

for the bench, you’d think he cared for people,

for the place, for Alabama, even for God.

But no, not when his fist was for grabbing

and moving and shelling, his voice

an advocate for off-shore drilling, oh how

he denied same-sex marriage, Obama, and science

to make naked the trans and glory, glory, hallelujah!

Those students feel all the more alone–

this his victory, his joy, his resolution

for higher office. Oh, how this southern man dances

a white-as-white rapture in the place Jeff Sessions left for dead.

@copyright Mare Hake, 2017

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Arizona — Jeff Flake, Stephanie Barbe Hammer

(Wikipedia entry sentences, sonnetized)

Jeff Flake was born in Snowflake, Arizona, the son of Nerita (née Hock) and Dean Maeser Flake.

Fiscally conservative, he’s a critic of government waste and advocates reducing federal spending.

As a House Rep in 2002 Flake voted in favor of the authorization of force bill against Iraq.

After the 2006 election, Flake changed his position to one of cautiously opposing.

In 2017 Senator Flake introduced a bill to eliminate FCC Internet Privacy rules passed under Barack

Obama, Arguing they were confusing and “added yet another innovation-stifling regulation.”

One constituent told him “You sold my privacy up the river.” He’s a No on background checks, yes on the Patriot Act.

He voted twice for ENDA which banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,

But he’s anti-marriage equality, pro-life, with exceptions for rape, incest, and to protect the life of the mother.

Fun fact: his hometown was named in part for Wiliam J. Flake, his pioneer, Mormon great-great-grandfather.

@copyright, Stephanie Barbe Hammer, 2017

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Arkansas — Tom Cotton, Lloyd David Aquino

The bomb beneath Tom Cotton’s chair is not

a bomb at all. It’s cacophony, one

too many loud immigrants, all those poor

ungrateful homosexuals you should

send to die in Iranian fields.

They say you’re coming from their healthcare. That’s

nothing but traitorous idiocy.

Hold your AR-15s high, Senator,

where they can see you. Keep those triggers oiled.

Your country needs you, stony-eyed, at your

station, explaining what’s good for all them

women, convicts, addicts. Them savages.

The bomb beneath your chair is not a bomb,

Tom, it’s history ticking you a song.

Working Title/Artist: Shepherd and shepherdess scene
Department: Am. Decorative Arts
Culture/Period/Location:
HB/TOA Date Code:
Working Date: ca. 1740
photography by mma 1989, transparency #1a
scanned and retouched by film and media (jn) 3_16_04

@copyright, Lloyd David Aquino, 2017

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Colorado — Cory Gardener, Sara Callor

Tonight a guy came knocking on my door.

His shirt: “Environment Colorado.”

He asked for monetary donations

For Colorado water, air, and land

protection. Save the Monarchs. Save the bees.

He said his matter’s urgent. Everything

is urgent these days. Everything is dire.

It must be hard to be a Senator,

to be the people’s heart, account for all

their fears, their values, all their urgent woes.

But if you were to pick just one of these,

I’d plead with you to consider people first.

You’ve said it’s time the world wakes up; it’s true:

The future of our healthcare’s up to you.

@copyright, Sara Callor, 2017

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Florida — Marco Rubio, Clifton Snider

Marco Rubio of the little brain,

the chubby body & the big, deaf ears,

Southern ears unable to hear the train

of freedom clanging through the years

since 26th of July Movement

rid la patria of Havana mob;

from the island Batista stealthy went,

no more to bluster, pander, kill & rob,—

Marco Rubio feeds on Castros’ crimes,

legitimate complaints and bitter tears,

crudely ignores the Cuban people’s climb

out of despair, dictatorship & fears.

To spite Obama’s generosity

Rubio embraces monstrosity.

Copyright © Clifton Snider, 2017

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Idaho — Mike Crapo, George Hammons

As if by angry bowel, the senate does spew

tarnish upon what we once held sacred

We gather as if our heritage, now savaged, stands witless, dumb, and naked,

We cling embracing, a beheaded corpse, whom we once knew

as “Honesty”,  who stood so valiant, brave, and true

but now, his darkening glory, declines, opaque,

and we consume him like “most beautiful chocolate cake”

whose empty calories do  little to sustain and so we search for clues

starving for the truth we vow, we will resist and rise

and name the liars  though they deny our right to do so

We point them out that they might not evade our judging eyes

and as  he spins for cover we holler “shame on you Mike Crapo”

beware your emanate political demise

and he only corrects our pronunciation, mumbling, that “it’s pronounced “KRAY-poh

@copyright, George Hammons, 2017

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Kentucky–Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader of the Senate, Ryka Aoki

When you look back upon your long career–

what moments, what achievements will you say

were Mitch McConnell’s finest moments here?

The ones that made a better USA?

 

Perhaps it’s those Kentuckians who’ll die

because you made their health care disappear.

Or maybe just a miner’s widow cry

‘cuz black lung deaths are rising every year.

 

Of course, no science teachers will be there,

and nurses, well, and doctors won’t be found.

The nuclear plant will warm surrounding air,

as fracking crumbles more unstable ground.

 

The life you’ve wasted, Mitch, the harm you’ve wrought–

to stop Barack Obama, all for naught

 

@copyright, Ryka Aoki, 2017

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Maine — Suzanne Collins, Vickie Vertiz

YOU ARE NOT A(LOON). HELP US STOP THE 45th

 

After the Shakespeare’s Star Wars series by I. Doescher and so much xenophobia

Though all the Senate bureaucratic be,
The thought of thee some stillness brings egrets.
Such is the pow’r that thou hast over loons,
Forsooth, we have been snar’d in thy hair net.
Love is the wondrous pow’r that speaketh “Stop,”
Love lifts one up to heav’n, or breaks one’s heart,
Love is the wondrous pow’r that speaketh “Stop,”
Love is the painter; voters are the art.
O you, let us make haste to Biddeford,
Within that heav’nly place we’ll do our best.
When we’re unheard we burn like Sith most mean,
Our love for ‘migrants hath ev’ry day progress’d.
Let villains come and threaten, lurk and jeer,
E’er unto thee our spirits shall adhere.

@copyright, Vickie Vertiz, 2017

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Massachusetts — Elizabeth Warren, Mare Hake

Elizabeth Warren doesn’t answer to her first name

alone, like some other candidates, doesn’t go

by the more folksy, Beth, in front of the cameras

and microphone, holding the podium like a lectern or ambo.

No, she is the senior senator from Massachusetts

and will be recognized with every syllable

she’s entitled to claim, even after she is told

to be quiet, even after she is threatened by scores of men,

even after she’s the focus of Thinskin hate.

 

Elizabeth Warren is a woman of her word, the-word

-of-law, not the Bible, an expert intellect some men try to eat, gobbling

her for breakfast, enjoying every chew, but the fools, she comes back

again, and again, a beautiful bile, a flaming heartburn, a nausea rising from below,
forcing their throats to burn and gag, oh mother, in glory, how she persists.

@copyright, Mare Hake, 2017

===========================================================================

New Jersey — Corey Booker, Lloyd David Aquino

(erasure of Senator Booker’s 2016 Democratic National convention speech)

Savages, we all descended from the

moon. We devolve into love so clearly.

Our stomach knows no better. Paint a man

or his wife. Let people run from the Great

Garden without remorse. Out of there. They’d

seen enough, all our charity, all our

too heady gravity, colossal. These

are the remnants, stunningly measured. Gift

that to stoking fingers. One beautiful

truth. How it begins, bitter, twisted in

the dirt, like the North Star, the mountaintop,

the moon. Giants in a chorus cannot

fall. This still thing is nothing. A refuge.

Be brave. Surrender, surrender the ground.

@copyright, Lloyd David Aquino, 2017

==========================================================================

 

Oregon — Ron Wyden, Sandra Sarr

We’re talking about an attack on our

Democratic institutions when stone-

walls, all, are unacceptable for

these troubled times of hacking by Russian

meddlers. Americans have had it with

stonewalling. Gen. Sessions, respectfully,

you are not answering the question. Fifth

estate watchdogs can smell a mute bully.

General, those answers, in my view, don’t

pass the smell test. Let’s review historic

policies, Dept. of Justice, they mustn’t

be off limits. We are not sophomoric.

Did you collude with Russian officials?

We’re going to dig, no matter who bristles.

@copyright, Sandra Saar, 2017

=============================================

Vermont — Bernie Sanders, Stephanie Barbe Hammer

1.One heard nothing about him, then suddenly he

2.Was running for president. A cranky jewish socialist

3.Indie, leftie, married to a goy — he drove my husband crazy

4.“He’s like an annoying uncle.” “Mine was a capitalist”

5.I tell him, “so don’t look at me for an explanation.

6.But I think he’s sort of charming.” “I love him” whispered

7.Shopgirls in stores and Lyft drivers at frantic intersections

8.“Not another white guy” my daughter said when the bird

9.Landed on his podium. “It has to be Hilary” loyal Dems frowned

10.Then we lost. The radical retrenchment began and we look askance

11.Now what?  Rethink two parties or tear the whole system down?

12.But listen to how socialist terms have entered our parlance:

13. rigged economy and the billionaire class are (finally) indubitable.

14.Single Payer Health care, tax reform, free college = possible.

@copyright, Stephanie Barbe Hammer, 2017

 

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