(Copy of a poem-comment I just posted to Jen’s blog):

slip a piece of paper
into a locked box
switch a lever and
press a button
electronic is safe, they say, better than human error
but I’d prefer a human touch any day
than blank iron-clad terror forcing
us to go one way
or another,
one choice or forever
hold your peace
I hold pieces of a worn-out driver’s license
and registration card
in my hand and I’m not certain
whether they’ll believe me
whether it’ll feel relieving
to finally enter my opinion into a black box machine
and out will come a god
deus ex machina
to fix all our nation’s ills
sing and dance our economic recovery
regain the world’s goodwill from
these unforgivable actions
I don’t know whether I believe me
when I try to tell my grandmother that she
is wrong, without showing disrespect
how can I convince her to vote
and elect
someone I’m not sure I trust all the time
but who’s better
maybe a little better
than the folks currently in line
to hold that power tight
in their white fists, raised high as if
they ever knew what oppression felt like.  listen
I want to tell her
can’t you hear the sound of a country
splitting open at the seams
like a giant fault line through the middle
of its brightest dreams, we
stand on opposite sides from each other but
she is still my blood, my mother’s mother
shouldn’t that mean something?
I write her a note
slip it into a light blue envelope,
hope she will learn to decipher
what I’m trying to tell her–it’s not
that I believe, but I wish for more
and I lose faith every fucking day but maybe
there’s something in this we can both hold onto, a rope
I can throw her across the gap between
us, jagged and wide
scarring the outside we see
beyond the curtains of the voting booth.

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