To the 43rd President

From the New Yorker, late 2004?
While searching through the digital detritus of my computer, I stumbled upon a poem I'd scanned out of the New Yorker some years back. Judging by the date of the other documents –– our archaeological methods turned back upon the digital, to date a file by its neighbors –– I would have scanned this probably in 2004. That date seems to fit the poem's title; as for the poem itself, it speaks as well to the moment in which we live now:
What I see are tactical endurance,
rhetoric divorced from practice and aversion
squatting on a shaky platform.
But it's where Cole ends up that interests me most, this open question about why it is we hate:
Nature seems complacent
as hate rains down on us in swoops.
Why does God make man to feel it?
Cole doesn't provide an answer, but neither does he condemn hate. Hate, he seems to suggest, is bound up in the fear of something that exists beyond our control, that "unbroken animal/ circling in the dark wood."


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