Sunday, March 4, 2018


Maxims, or Excuse the Eccentric
(In the style of "Poor Richard's Almanack")

Lords, inventors,
citizen statesmen (only if they’re white men)
decreed it ere, but today you may hear:
“A house without a woman or firelight, is like a body without soul or sprite.”
Note, Wife was own’d

Slaves were as well.
their labor omitted but always present
fuel for masters, vampires—our Founding Brethren.
The Lords would never ascent, but let us look at what was absent:

Dear human-ness.
What is lost, from whom, to where does it flee?
Then once taken, losers descend into what kind of being?
Bad behavior rankles cultur’ly, yet we give this readily:
Free-Spirit Pass.

Cleared their path.
We excuse the eccentric anything,
as long as his helpless rumpl’d clothes and smiles are charming.
Property and family sucked dry, albeit unwillingly:
Cost of genius.

Larger picture:
Slave ships dock’d in harbor, humans in chains,
False treaties, threats, erasure and genocide of the First Nations—
Familiar? It’s as American as the frost on the punkin!
Strength beats mercy.

We made them cuddl’y.
Kind eyes behind bifocals, storm and key,
we paint darling Franklin, his quest for effluvial energy.
The French women he paid for love? Not budgeted for Poor Richard.
Advice untak’n.

And Jefferson!
For a Great Clock, “pedometers” today
The wheel cipher to code and decode, keep state secrets safe, we praise!
But he couldn’t bury or hide away Sally Hemmings (say her name)
We see her now.

We see you all!
Your sins, your grace, your sacrifices too
From eyes of the trampl’d, from their lips and hearts to you.
Isn’t it uncanny? They give you back your own humanity
It is a gift.

- Laura Eppinger

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