Election Choices

From the collection Autumn Opens a Door, published fall 2015. I am posting these poems in alphabetical order and in their season, and it was this poem’s turn. I considered leaving it out in view of our recent painful election, but, I decided to go on. Remember, it was written in 2015…

Election Choices

As I wait at the traffic light
I am confronted by a phalanx
a horde
a multitude
of election signs planted under the signal
crowding each other for my attention.
The election is next week. It strikes me that
there will be many people
with hurt feelings next week
having been defeated
and having to go around and pull up
those hopeful, optimistic signs
now tainted. Well, that’s in the future:
right now each and every one
of those signs is full of
jostle and ballyhoo.
And – I consider this point –
Not everyone in that crowd is going to lose.

"Between Two Choices", mixed media.

“Between Two Choices”, mixed media.

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19 thoughts on “Election Choices

  1. The fall out of Trump’s so-called winning has affected South Africa already. There’s been marches by the old racist regime about wanting their land back, attacks on the LGBTQ community has increased and I as a woman am being told to go into my house when the men are talking together in a group.

  2. It’s as if old ways thought buried have been given permission to rise again. Like bad spirits returning. When I wrote this poem I was thinking of local candidates and the disappointment of running your best and losing, but today’s events… another layer.

  3. How interesting that this poem was written about another election but so applies to this current one. Few of my neighbours have uprooted their yard signs and I can’t believe it’s just laziness or oversight. I think people can’t accept that it’s over and a done deal. On reading your poem, I’m realizing that people invest a lot in the symbolism of those signs, that they can almost become totemic.

  4. Well, here it is one month past the most recent election, and there still are stragglers of campaign signs waiting for winter weather. Meantime, my Bernie sticker will be on the back of my car for many winters.

  5. Yes, that’s it exactly. It’s a sign(no pun intended) of affiliation and it gets so emotional. When I wrote the poem I was thinking of the losing candidate ‘s feelings and now it is also about the feelings of the supporter. A lot more to think about than what I originally intended.

  6. Terrific poem. When I lived in Germany there were always a lot of roadside signs during local elections, and I often thought how sad it must be to see your own big smiling face the day after if you lost. The image is stunning, absolutely great.

  7. Thank you on all counts. This past election, signs were much less in evidence, even for local races. I think people did not want to reveal their choices publicly. In past elections, it was a forest. Anyway, I have never wanted to run for anything, even in school; I can take losing in athletics or whatever, no problem, but the idea of an election – gives me the shivers. For the reason I wrote this poem and what you said!

  8. I had a short career as a politician when I was a union official many years ago. The backstabbing, hypocrisy and smear campaigns put me off further involvement for life. My heart aches for America, as it does for Brexit Britain, right wing France, lost Italy and Germany under siege from the populist right.

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