The Sunday Poem: Margaret Randall... Intimately Defeated

Dick Cheney does have a heart.  Doctors have seen it.  But the odd thing is, it isn't his.

 Albuquerque poet Margaret Randall has published more than 80 books.  Her reputation and influence extend worldwide.  And she contributes in many, many ways to the local poetry scene (including a faithful commenting presence here on the DCF).

Intimately Defeated

            Meditation on ex vice president
            Dick Cheney’s heart transplant.

He wakes with the new master muscle in place
but something is wrong.
Years of synchronizing heart and head,

the lust for power coursing through both
in syncopated symphony,
greed on the battlefield keeping perfect time

with corporate greed and even the baton
he wields within his family
or on a friendly hunt.

He wakes and doesn’t doubt
the transplant has been successful.
In every way but one.

No organ rejection or danger of infection,
no fever above his usual two degrees
below what other mortals know as normal.

This is a problem to baffle the specialists.
Maybe even
all of modern medicine.

Wife and daughters’ smiles appear
through anesthetic haze:
they wouldn’t understand

what he fears so he doesn’t try.
Vietnam. Halliburton. Iraq. Afghanistan.
Unwavering surveillance at home and abroad

drone into a disappearing distance.
None of five prior attacks
hinted at such dilemma.

The all-powerful man rests on white sheets,
state of the art equipment
hums and beeps about his bed.

Outside his hospital room
Secret Service best post serious guard
against the ever-lurking threat.

And the man who’s always had an answer,
forever kept his razor-sharp cool,
wonders about the man

or was it a woman whose body
only hours before housed this heart
now beating in him.

Could she have been a Democrat?
Could he have lost his job or home?
Or, god forbid, detested war?

Woman? Black? Lesbian? Transgender?
The anguished questions
course his veins:

ominous tide producing little stab wounds,
unfamiliar emotions he can’t remember
experiencing before,

this strange irregular beat
rendering him physically sound at last
and intimately defeated.

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 361

Comment by larry goodell on May 13, 2012 at 9:09am

thank you Margaret, was this in response to Mary Oishi asking "Poets, have you written your Dick Cheney heart poem, yet?" a good thing to ponder . . . I wrote one called "Heartless" in my FB notes: all poets, I'll bet, have written on this man's devastation . . . and lack of true heart . . . 

Comment by Don McIver on May 13, 2012 at 10:10am
Love it.
Comment by Margaret Randall on May 13, 2012 at 10:48am

Larry, no, Mary and I wrote our poems almost simultaneously! But of course I bet a great many poets were inspired by this. John Drake, I don't know what Schadenfreude means.

Comment by Mr. Potato Head on May 13, 2012 at 12:13pm

Bravo Margaret!  Truly a thought provoking piece.  I've read it a few times and thought about it for a while - I suspect Cheney had no curiosity about the person who's heart he took, no more than he thought about the cow that became his cheeseburger.   Schadenfreude is taking joy in the misfortunes of others, a guilty pleasure, but given all the suffering that Cheney has caused, how could we not indulge a bit?

Comment by Margaret Randall on May 13, 2012 at 12:16pm

I suspect you are right, Mr. Potato Head! But it was fun to think about his discomfort with possibly "inappropriate" donors...

Comment by Dee Cohen on May 13, 2012 at 6:05pm

Hello Margaret, I've wondered about the implications of really knowing someone else's heart. I wonder if it has changed him. Thanks for getting my (transplanted) brain thinking. Dee

Comment by Rich Boucher on May 14, 2012 at 8:10am

I love the measured, analytic tone of this poem, Margaret. Anyone (with a heart) would and could rail at Cheney, but you break him down here without even breaking a sweat. Excellent!

...oh, and since others have brought this up, I'll say that I, too, have a Dick Cheney poem. It's a pantoum. About Dick Cheney taking a shower.  

Comment by Margaret Randall on May 14, 2012 at 8:11am

Between all the poets it sounds like we've got the guy coming and going!

Comment by Granjero on May 14, 2012 at 5:51pm

I enjoy poetry because most of the time you get to see inside the heads of other people, more so than essays or blogs posts.  So I don't really take umbrage with your thoughts on Dick Chaney, other than the last bit: "Woman? Black? Lesbian? Transgender?"

Dick Chaney could almost be a pro-GBLT advocate, at least more so than the current president.  Dick Chaney was pro-gay before it was cool to be so.

It was a lovely poem, just not well researched. Though, hate rarely is.  :)

Comment by Jules Nyquist on May 24, 2012 at 1:26pm

Thanks for this, Margaret! I too am wondering what will happen with Cheney's new heart. Science has shown that there are indeed emotional ties or cravings associated with organ transplants. I hope all are inspired to write more poems on this intriguing topic!


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