Sunday, February 14, 2010

Diane Wald reads her poem from day #27

nonromantic obama valentine for america, february 14th, 2009

let us just make a note of one thing before traveling too far on:
obama eats the camera.

in every single photograph where he is smiling
the presidential teeth
require a taming of light, a scrooching in of every aperture
so the picture is not too far bedazzled.

in honor of this i send all america this nonromantic obama valentine command:
thou shalt smile!

for our president
is smiling.

just a man.
openly smiling.

not smirking.
not leering sneering grinning or baring clenched military teeth.
not snickering dickering
lying through pearls
not hooting snorting cackling or falling
all over himself like a word with a back-assward meaning or
a sentence all twisted up in itself
like pretzel dough gone wacko in the oven.

and if you have seen him in person you will say
he verily streams with wide openness
with a wild candor worthy of walt whitman
and no one is afraid.

let him beam.
let his raw laughter flow where the fruited plains have faded, have dried.
let them slowly soak it up, that nurturing laughter.
let all the hillsides bloom with colors that no one’s seen for eight long years.

let obama laughter ring. long may it.
let it flood the high skies and tie sparkling wonder all up in a silvery bow
like aretha’s magnificent inaugural hat!

let the hearts that illumine this day of the pagan saint val
start throbbing anew, start pulsing
in a sweetly smiling america. well of course

we can’t pull all that off every day. and surely
we can’t ignore oceans of sadness and need
when they’re flooding in all around us. but sometimes

we can smile again in america and now at least we have
a person in the white house who knows honestly how to do it.

Diane Wald has been writing seriously since JFK was in office; before that, not so seriously. She works for animal welfare and lives in Massachusetts with her husband, the writer/photographer P. Carey Reid. They share their home, Spoonrest, with five fine cats. Look for: The Yellow Hotel, Lucid Suitcase, and faustinetta, gegenschein, trapunto.

Click here for the MP3 of this reading.

Originally posted on February 15, 2009


  1. I'm smiling as I type this. I'm smiling because I'm proud to know you...proud of how wonderfully you use words...proud and happy we are on the same page in our enthusiasm for Obama as president.

    Loved the poem.


  2. 'wild candor worth of walt whitman' -- very cool!

  3. Wonderful, wonderful! Playful and so smart.

  4. I loved this. And it made me smile. :)

  5. love the poem, Diane! Thank you for putting it out there.

  6. Seriously? You're glad Obama's president? Well that was a year ago hopefully you've formed another opinion by today.

  7. Even though I don't agree with you on Obama, I think that it was a poem well done!!!