Donald Trump got sworn in today
and all I can do is listen to Bruce Springsteen.
That stuff he put out when Carter was in office.
When New York was in the fiscal toilet.
When Jersey was the junk.
I can’t tell if listening to Bruce
is a desire to return to something gritty
or a daydream of denial.
All I can tell is that there are no clichés anymore
because everything has to be a revolution against
Juan up at the drugstore buying his gum
before the Secret Service come with their xylophone wagon
and bellow him out
into ambulance row.
The ones screaming down my street right now are headed towards D.C.
and I’m up in my attic with the headphones
trying to bail out the siren wail
echoing between the brick.
Donald Trump put up his hand today against The Good Book
and Justice Roberts said, Go dog, go.
I put up my hand today
against the ash wood of Bruce Springsteen’s Telecaster
like it was all things decent and good.
All things kind and forthright.
An American salute.
an American flag of all things sexy, straightforward and dynamite,
flying here for the whole shebang, for us, humanity untrumped--
The last cliché.
The cliché of all clichés.
The rock ‘n roll garden
trying desperately not to be an anthem of weeds,
still thinking it could save the world.
Matthew Lippman is the author of four poetry collections—The New Year of Yellow (winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize, Sarabande Books), Monkey Bars, Salami Jew, and American Chew (winner of the Burnside Review of Books Poetry Prize). He is the recipient of many awards including a New York State Fine Arts Grant, and Jerome J. Shestak Poetry Prize from American Poetry Review.