Tasks which have no limit
Learning about A Land Called Paradise

Conversation with the President (a poem for Big Tent Poetry)






Although I have no recording device, only
old-fashioned reporter's notebook
they let me in. Mr. President, I say,

and he replies Rabbi, expectant.
The moment hangs. I have questions about
the 2012 election, I offer, and also

about storahtelling and midrash. His smile
is genuine: I've surprised him.
He rolls up his sleeves, preparing.

And then before the interview begins
I wake, wondering what signs or portends
I'm meant to take from this nocturnal trip.

Speaking truth to power, maybe, though
I remember a sense of connection
not anger juicing my veins.

Today the spring is windy and bright,
remnants of snow cresting the lawn
like seaweed left behind as the tide recedes.

Standing at the prow of our house I see
the road curving toward our tiny town hall.
I can't imagine my son turning three,

this presidency either lamed
or gearing up again. If this dream repeats
there's so much I'd like to say:

Mr. President, think midrashically.
The nation waits for you to interpret.
The real story inhabits the spaces between.

This week at Big Tent Poetry there are seven prompts. I don't think I'll be able to muster a poem a day this year during April, so instead of beginning the poem-a-day discipline, I chose one of this week's prompts -- "Write about standing on a balcony with someone you’ve read about in the paper."

I took the prompt in a direction which may not be quite what was intended. In my poem I do talk with someone I've read about in the paper, and I do stand on a deck, though those two things aren't simultaneous. As it happens, this poem arises out of an actual dream! I don't often dream about celebrities, so I was a bit baffled (and amused) when I woke from this one; I'm glad this poem opportunity came along so I could turn the dream into something.

Here's a link to this week's Come One, Come All post so you can see what others did with this prompt -- or with the six others!