Bourbon and Sulphur

Canto One

McConnell always kept the curtains drawn
around the musty sanctum of his soul.
His ethics, firm as a suburban lawn
curated by a hyperactive mole,
had landed him the caucus kingpin role.
This group was built for subterfuge, not smarts,
like burner phones for sale at Kwik-E Marts.

They were the syndicate Mitch swore to lead,
and lead he would, unto the promised land—
a shining city on a hill of greed
that gutted schools and clear-cut public land,
a place where racial animus was fanned,
and jiggered maps left voter concentrations
to quarantine domestic “shithole nations.”

Repeal/Replace had dinged and dope-slapped Mitch.
Therefore he gladly pivoted and blew
two trillion shoring up the super-rich,
all funded from some vaults of revenue
in Nod or Neverland or Xanadu.
The clink of the champagne flutes at The Ritz
would camouflage the groan of deficits.

The tax cut was his prize, his precious pet;
yet accolades were of the Bronx variety.
The moldy cant of Trickle Down was met
with a reaction hard to spin as piety.
The working Janes and Joes across society
could see right through the Grand Old Party’s ruse
to fasten onto Medicare a noose.

It irked Mitch how the tax cut got no credit
for an economy that looked so buff
despite the brewing tariff wars that bled it—
true mouthy, muscle-flexing MAGA stuff.
Trump loved to cowboy up and play the tough,
no matter that he couldn’t sit a horse.
(He mounted much more dangerous things, of course.)

Mitch never caught a break. The President
would trash-talk NATO allies, skewer Sessions,
deride a POW and vent
at gold-star parents. He performed impressions
of the disabled, even made confessions
of smoochy thoughts for North Korea’s Kim.
They were the yin and yang, the flam and flim.

With Anti-Semites, he was coy and winky.
His crowds were from some grainy German reel.
He killed it playing patsy in Helsinki
for Putin, whose raw animal appeal
made Trump, deep down inside him, want to squeal
like teenage girls in 1965
who got to go and see the Beatles live.

Long since, the GOP had pawned its soul.
Old Dixie was down payment from Old Scratch.
But now the Devil strutted from his hole.
Having consulted his infernal watch,
he saw the time had come to bag his catch.
He was a curious Deuce—a businessman
with bankruptcies, broad tuchus, and fake tan.

The party’s standard bearers were indignant.
They balked at debts to Evil’s Potentate.
What did Republicans owe this malignant,
pudendum-grabbing poster boy of hate?
They merely stood against the nanny state.
It was a Christian nation they preferred
where Jesus gave those city blacks the bird—

one where the homos didn’t make a fuss,
the women ironed and kept the toilets clean,
the men sat sentry with a blunderbuss*
(*poetic license for AR-15)
lest ghetto dwellers pinch the big flat screen.
Such was their simple ask—no liberal yammer,
and every other Negro in the slammer.

This Devil, though, was not one to be cheated.
A contract had been signed; he’d done his part.
To press his point, Trump furiously tweeted
and locked his hold upon the Base’s heart.
The Deal was, after all, his blackest art.
And so the party’s chiefs were in a pickle.
With Satan, politicians can’t be fickle.

They were his servants now, they had no choice.
Whatever he dished out, they had to take.
Woe to the rebel—a dissenting voice
would soon be bubbling in the Stygian lake
of Trumpian invective. Ask Jeff Flake,
who opted for political demise
rather than adorate this Lord of Flies.

They were a team of toadies for the ages,
a lethal force of sycophantic SWAT
to take down women’s rights, free trade, fair wages,
and universal health care’s ghastly plot.
As for the Solar System’s blue-green spot,
they said God’s plan, mysterious and noble,
was always pre-approved by Exxon Mobil.

They cheered a President who caged up babies
or lost them in his Gulag. They high-fived
his steely foreign policy of maybes—
the way his tweeted dudgeon soared and dived,
the way, when crunch time came, he bobbed and jived
until his ankles, shackled by his breeches,
left the Bad Actor of the Week in stitches.

They vied at shooting pepper spray that felt
most acrid in the Truth’s assaulted eyes.
Now Sanders, now Menuchin held the belt,
now Kellyanne or Jared took the prize.
When sunset came for one grandmaster’s lies
a fresh one rose on cue, none quite as ruthless
as Nunes keeping his committee toothless.

This clever Congressman who, all the same,
wore no protection to romance disgrace,
made oversight an after-hours game
of Uber expeditions to erase
the Putin-Trump collusion’s every trace,
insisting patriotism was his reason
for spritzing sale perfume on steaming treason.

He could have been corrected by the Speaker,
but Ryan was a puppet on a string—
a fallen climber, disappointed seeker,
whom Trump instructed when and what to sing,
and if he hit a sour note, the sting
of White House fury got him back on key
and belting looney tunes out flawlessly.

Mitch watched and worried, a dyspeptic sphinx.
Approval ratings turned the vise of dread.
He comprehended that a party stinks
(as surely as a fish) first from its head.
The rot atop the GOP had spread
and left conservatism’s tidy tent
one great miasma of the Trumpish scent.

The Midterms signaled it was time to panic.
Returns rolled in and gave Mitch clammy chills.
He felt that it was Trump’s, not his, Titanic,
and wished he’d held evacuation drills
instead of listening to those leggy shills
installed on Fox and Friends as ratings fetchers,
the eye-candy of millions of old lechers.

He’d had his fun. The threesome was a doozy—
that orgy of raw politics he’d staged
with groper Kavanaugh and teaser Suzy
as women of all stations watched enraged.
Poor Suzy afterwards looked worn and aged,
left with just memories of getting lucky,
the bitch of the Adonis of Kentucky.

George Angell, December 2018

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