Exquisite Candidate

Denise Duhamel

I can promise you this: food in the White House
will change! No more granola, only fried eggs
flipped the way we like them. And ham ham ham!
Americans need ham! Nothing airy like debate for me!
Pigs will become the new symbol of glee,
displacing smiley faces and "Have A Nice Day."
Car bumpers are my billboards, billboards my movie screens.
Nothing I can say can be used against me.
My life flashes in front of my face daily.
Here's a snapshot of me as a baby. Then
marrying. My kids drink all their milk which helps the dairy industry.
A vote for me is not only a pat on the back for America!
A vote for me, my fellow Americans, is a vote for everyone like me!
If I were the type who made promises
I'd probably begin by saying: America,
relax! Buy big cars and tease your hair
as high as the Empire State Building.
Inch by inch, we're buying the world's sorrow.
Yeah, the world's sorrow, that's it!
The other side will have a lot to say about pork
but don't believe it! Their graphs are sloppy coloring books.
We're just fine—look at the way
everyone wants to speak English and live here!
Whatever you think of borders,
I am the only candidate to canoe over Niagara Falls
and live to photograph the Canadian side.
I'm the only Julliard graduate—
I will exhale beauty all across this great land
of pork rinds and gas stations and scientists working for cures,
of satellite dishes over Sparky's Bar & Grill, the ease
of breakfast in the mornings, quiet peace of sleep at night.
From Exquisite Politics. Copyright © 1997 Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton. Reprinted by permission of Tia Chucha Press.

Poems by This Author

Buddhist Barbie by Denise Duhamel
In the 5th century B.C.
Buying Stock by Denise Duhamel
I know you won't mind if I ask you to put this on.
Delta Flight 659 by Denise Duhamel
I'm writing this on a plane, Sean Penn
Exquisite Politics by Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton
The perfect voter has a smile but no eyes
Kinky by Denise Duhamel
They decide to exchange heads.
Lawless Pantoum by Denise Duhamel
Men are legally allowed to have sex with animals
Permanence by Denise Duhamel
The barista at the coffee shop is covered in tattoos. She says there are only two
Sex with a Famous Poet by Denise Duhamel
I had sex with a famous poet last night
The Bottom by Denise Duhamel
I stopped drinking on my way down the hill
The Threat by Denise Duhamel
my mother pushed my sister out of the apartment door with an empty
Yes by Denise Duhamel
According to Culture Shock:

Further Reading

Related Poems
Exquisite Politics
by Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton
Politics and Patriotism
Howl, Parts I & II
by Allen Ginsberg
by Claude McKay
by James Monroe Whitfield
by Robert Creeley
American History
by Michael S. Harper
American Names
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Bomb Crater Sky
by Lam Thi My Da
Dear George Bush
by Kristin Prevallet
December 2, 2002
by Juliana Spahr
Delicate Cluster
by Walt Whitman
by Juan Felipe Herrera
Election Day, November, 1884
by Walt Whitman
Election Year
by Donald Revell
Exquisite Politics
by Denise Duhamel
Fellini in Purgatory
by Jean Valentine
Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind
by Carl Sandburg
How We Did It
by Muriel Rukeyser
I, Too, Sing America
by Langston Hughes
In a Country
by Larry Levis
it: a user’s guide
by Evie Shockley
Let America Be America Again
by Langston Hughes
Modern Declaration
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds
by Eleanor Lerman
by David Baker
Praise Song for the Day
by Elizabeth Alexander
Thanksgiving Letter from Harry
by Carl Dennis
The Condoleezza Suite [Excerpt]
by Nikky Finney
The Throats of Guantánamo
by Katie Ford
by Walt Whitman
To Roosevelt
by Rubén Darío