Unholy Ghosts (Tis the Season)

This is a piece I wrote back early in December of 2018. Reprising it now because I never posted it here, and it’s important to remember, in this election season, the devastating toll that Trump’s maladministration has taken on our environment. –March, 2020
 
For a while there—for several years—
I didn’t see ANY frogs here in Florida,
which is odd because, you know, Florida, frogs.
 
Where did all the frogs go? I kept asking
anyone who would listen.
 
Maybe they were on an extended Carnival cruise
in Norway or someplace cold like that
because when it rained hard here, recently,
the frogs appeared, suddenly, again,
after their long absence,
HUNDREDS OF THEM on the lawn,
only they were no longer green;
they were pasty, white, like milk
with a dash of Crème de Menthe,
 
as though Fellini and John Carpenter
and Tim Burton had made a movie together
and had cast frogs as elderly albino people
limping through a big cruise line station
in the pouring rain.
 
We just had an election here in Florida,
and my fellow citizens went out and voted
against themselves again—
against themselves and the frogs.
 
They are righteous about how practical
they are being in pursuing this course
of killing themselves and the frogs.
 
And today the President held a news conference
and boxed, soundly, the ears of numerous journalists,
which he really shouldn’t have done
because not one of them even mentioned
That he must have worn goggles earlier,
when his keepers applied orange spray tan to his face.
POLITELY, I thought, NOT ONE OF THEM mentioned
that he looked as though a child
had painted big white racoon eyes
on an angry pumpkin.
 
Perhaps these are connected—
the sickly white frogs and the white-eyed Trumpkin.
Maybe I missed that we are now celebrating,
as a nation, twelve weeks of Halloween—
like, you know, the twelve days of Christmas.
 
But I’ll know when we officially switch
to celebrating the next holiday season because
I’ll hear in my head, as I do every year,
the voices of the ghosts of the Indians
who helped the white settlers to survive
after their first hard winter in New England—
voices of the ghosts of the Indians saying,
what the f**k were we thinking?
 
And then it will be again
the most joyous time of the year,
when our President rallies the country
to oppose the War on Christmas.
You know the holiday?–Christmas?–
the one you wouldn’t hear anything about
if it weren’t for his reminding us about it?
That’s leadership.
 
And what do horror movie ghost frogs say?
Knee deep. Knee deep. Come in.

About Bob Shepherd

interests: curriculum design, educational technology, learning, linguistics, hermeneutics, rhetoric, philosophy (Continental philosophy, Existentialism, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, ethics), classical and jazz guitar, poetry, the short story, archaeology and cultural anthropology, history of religion, prehistory, veganism, sustainability, Anglo-Saxon literature and language, systems for emergent quality control, heuristics for innovation
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