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Showdown with a Cactus: Poems Chronicling the Prickly Struggle Between the Forces of Dubya-ness and Enlightenment, 2003-2006

by Louis Daniel Brodsky


The Truth About the Founding Fathers

I, for one invisible, John Q. Public American citizen,
No longer have so much as a minuscule clue
As to what constitutes truth,

Truth Constitutional
Or of the eye-to-eye, man-to-man, handshake variety,
Perverted by Rovian/Dubyan doublethink and -speak.

Who knows whose spin to believe or disbelieve,
In this land renamed Big Lie,
Watered by acid rain falling from our unpolluted skies?

Who among our TV-besotted populace,
Our obese, overindulged, undereducated huddled masses,
Will be elected, next, as our misleader in chief,

To plunge this country to new heights of mendacity,
Wire us all to the NSA's hard drive,
Sacrifice us to the one official god — War on Terrorism?

Was truth ever precious, cherished by our ancestors?
I used to think so, assume so,
But now, I don't know if it hasn't always been cow plops

Sold to the gullible multitudes as manna,
For the benefit of the few with the most chutzpa,
The brassiest cajones, the biggest stable of slaves,

Those who could tell the tallest tale, stretcher, whopper,
From here to wherever and back again,
Without so much as twitching the polygraph's needle.

In the final analysis (if there is one to be trusted),
It seems quite plausible that even the Founding Fathers
Were nothing but cotton and tobacco lobbyists.


Use the player below to listen to Louis Daniel Brodsky read this poem.



While history may withhold its judgment of President George W. Bush, for several more years, Brodsky, in Showdown with a Cactus, sees no reason to wait. In 101 poems, he relentlessly questions the motives behind the foreign and domestic policies of our forty-third president, with special attention paid to the disastrous military excursion into Iraq. Bush's cabinet and advisors, also, are treated to Brodsky's sometimes scathing examination, as is the complacency of many American citizens, who, in the poem "Re: Election," are only too happy to ignore the state of the world: "Sing Hallelujah! George the Lord has risen!"


L.D. Brodsky, who has turned his personal diary of righteous anger into memorable work, . . . [is] a passionate and intelligent poet who pays attention to the world and its endless sadness. In his latest collection, Showdown with a Cactus, he comments wryly in many different ways on the perverse state of American politics, in particular, studying our foolishly immoral stances on the stage of international affairs, our self-deceiving ways at home as well. "Oh, how insistent our emperor is," he writes, thinking no doubt of George W. Bush, who has persuaded a vast nation to engage in this monstrous misnomer, the so-called war on terror, which is exactly the war he needs to remain in power. "How did all this bad will come to disease the world's heart?" he wonders in "Democracy." How indeed. One will find a compelling look at this question, and many more like it, in Brodsky's ample collection.
— Jay Parini, author of The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems


Brodsky has done it again. These witty poems combine his usual lyricism with sharp political observations. They are a must for all who love poetry and who are concerned about the direction the Bush administration has taken this country.
— Noel Polk, editor of the Mississippi Quarterly and author of Outside the Southern Myth and Children of the Dark House