Poem about Poll Watching Accepted at Quaranzine–Plus, a Review

Photo credit: Melissa Wilkins, “Jolley’s sporting a new Trump 2020 flag.” 2 March 2019. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.0. Slightly enlarged.

I am pleased to report that Third Estate Art, “a group of artists and activists living and working in Chicago,” has selected my poem, “Poll Watching: Alabama, 2020,” for its online magazine, Quaranzine. According to the submission guidelines, poetry is an especially competitive category, so I am especially honored and grateful.

The poem is about my experience as a poll watcher last November, and I was driven to write it by my observations. On the one hand, the polling place was well run, and there were no untoward incidents or behaviors. On the other hand, the proportion of whites to Blacks I observed roughly matched the ratio of Republican to Democratic votes, and the whites seemed to feel much more free to express their support for the fascist yam than the Blacks did to express theirs for the Democratic candidates. The almost palpable attitude seemed to be, “Sure, you can vote, as long as we win.” I can only imagine the shock and horror in certain quarters over on the other side of the line, in Georgia, where patrons of a symphony I play in have posted racist libel about the Obamas, told me climate change was a liberal lie, and explained to me that slaves were happy.

I am not sure when the poem will come out, but I will post about it then, and you can read it. In the meantime, I will leave you with this joke that was making the rounds the day after Raphael Warnock, who is Black, and Jon Ossoff, who is Jewish, beat yam-adhering COVID profiteers in two Georgia Senate races (Ossoff later confirmed his win in a runoff):

A Black man and a Jew walk into a bar in Georgia. “What’ll it be, Senators?” asks the bartender.

And, of course, a review. No one makes insensitive remarks better than Emma Thompson as Vivienne Rook:

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