Saturday, December 30, 2006


Gerald Ford's children used to play in Statuary Halll.
Now, there's a pause while his coffin makes the rounds.
I think it's moving.
The presidency means so much to Americans.
He's probably the nicest president we've had in the last half century.
It's a sight we've never seen before: an ex-President lying in repose in front of the open door of the House Chamber.

You can hear their heels clicking on the stone floors.
Ford served in the House for 24 years.
The stillness echoes too; the winter wreath with white flowers.

Next, the casket will proceed to the Rotunda.
His enormous ambition was to lead the House.
Now we're marking history.
Think of where you were when Ford proclaimed the long nightmare is over.

Many of these dignitaries have no dignity:
they stand around chatting and twitching and seem compelled to touch their
face or fluff their hair or simply fidget -- looking worried.

The overwhelming impression is one of frigid solemnity; Mrs. Ford chokes back a tear.
She looks so fragile and vulnerable. The hall has such a loud reverberation you can almost hear the power of America cracking.

step, step, step, step, step,

For mighty is the hand that can turn a page of history.

Someone just collapsed in the crowd: a dignitary.
The stone floors of the Rotunda are not easy to stand long on.

There's nothing better than Live TV -- before all the awkwardness is edited out.
They're just dealing with it: just stand or sit and wait.
Remember Jerry Ford was 93 and many of these people are his contemporaries.
Waiting in the cold may have been too much for some of them.

Our long national nightmare is over.

Is that a question or a memory.

-- jw

Immediate Sunrise

There's immediate sadness in the sky this morning.
A little bit warmer: the sky
bloody with hints of last words (unhooded).

The man across the street in front of the bus kiosk
is in handcuffs; a policeman is dancing in the streets.

All the monsters in hell are dancing in Deerborn
Michigan; I harbor hate and heat in my heart.

I've considered moving to Palm Desert to weep over
memories I have of the 70s but decide: precision
is the highest form of honor and will opt for giddy alliance

with a future involving comic books and super
heroes, transit bus crashes and continuing cold.

I promise to sleep better in the future.
I promise to feel a cup of coffee amounts to God
and will surely cinch my future fame.

It is better to sip champagne than keep global prices down.



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