Poems for a New President

• Inauguration Day – Sherman Pearl
• Uncle Sam and Aunt Emma – Jim Smith 
•  January 16, 2009 – Mark Lipman


Inauguration Day

By Sherman Pearl

At last—the sun sauntering in

from the darkness

three centuries late.

I shower, scrub away

yesterday’s grime;

my skin sparkles

in the bathroom’s light.

my 5 o’clock shadow

vanishes under the razor,

along with the wrinkles;

my face turns fresh

as tomorrow.

I clear my throat

For the speech I imagine

myself delivering

on the courthouse steps;

words I rehearse in the mirror

blare like a fanfare

In conclusion

I sing God Bless America

to be sure the words

hadn’t died of disuse.

it seems appropriate

to stand naked as Adam

at the beginning of things;

feels right to linger

this way, exposed

to peeping birds

and quarrelsome squirrels

I’ll wear my best robe

to the easy chair

when I watch the future

unfold on TV.

Looks like a good day for it;

clouds swirling, unsure

of which way the wind

Is pushing them;

sun ducking behind them,

then bursting through


Uncle Sam and Aunt Emma

By Jim Smith

Sam, you’re no good

everyone knows it

You act so hot because you’re our uncle

but you can’t get along with anyone

always starting fights

and coveting what your neighbor has


What you need is a good woman

to teach you how to live.


I have one, said Sam

You have what? I demanded.

A wife, he nearly whispered,

name’s Emma

You know – New York harbor

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Yada yada.


Emma Lazarus is my aunt? 

I asked in shocked disbelief.

The one and only, confessed Sam


But why aren’t you together? I said.

Well you know, she was always getting mad at me

for invading some place or another

and beating hell out of those union organizers

Then the McCarthy Committee got after her in the 50s.

Well, Sam’s wife must be above suspicion.

So we went our separate ways.


Then what happened? When did she die?

Oh she’s still alive alright.

We symbols don’t die,

at least not like mortal men.


I want to see her, I said

After all she is my aunt.


Sam gave me a hard look, then said,

She’s living in a little bungalow

over in Venice, by the beach.

But watch out sonny,

she’ll talk your ear off.

Gave me “what for” the other day

about Guantánamo and the Patriot Act

– all that stuff – torture, wire tapping


Well, you know, you shouldn’t be doing that,

I said. He scowled, but nodded his head

I know, I know. But its a dangerous world out there.


Not so! I said. 

Never in history has it been safer, more civilized.

Except when you come around.


Watch yourself, sonny. 

He was glaring at me now.

You’re beginning to sound

like your Aunt Emma.


Sam, you and Emma need each other.

You may be a colossus, but she’s got your heart

I’m makin’ it my business to get you two back together.


Well, a lot of people ask about her, Sam acknowledged

And it was kind of nice to be a respected couple.


I’ll give it a try, Barack.

But I ain’t promisin’ nothin’

I might see it your way,

but, then again, you might see it my way.


January 16, 2009

By Mark Lipman

Four more days

Four more days

Heaven help us

Four more days

On your feet

Four more days

Do not sleep

Stay awake

Four more days

Four more days

We take our country back

For all those who have come

And fallen before us

Who did not make it

But fought, so that we could see

In our lifetimes

The dawning of a new day

Four more days

Four more days

The usurper

And all his minions

Will be chased out of the house

To the throwing of shoes

In four more days.

Now the work has just begun

It is up to us

Each and every one

Starting with me and you

It is time to throw down their chains

To unbind our hands

And pick up the responsibility

Of taking this planet

In a new direction

One in where the words

“Liberty and Justice For All”

Actually stand for something

One in where the words

“Freedom and Democracy”

Are more than just slogans

One in where I can feel good

About bringing my children into

That’s the world I’m talking about

Four more days.

Are you ready?

Then let me see you on your feet

Four more days

The work has just begun

Do not fall back now

And bring an extra pair of shoes

We’ve got a lot of walking to do

This is the beginning

Of the end

Of tyranny

But only if you get up

On your feet

But if for only once

You take to the streets

And say “No” when you witness injustice

When you stand up

For the little guy

Because it is the right thing to do

When you care

When you care enough

To help someone you don’t even know

Just because


Whether black, white, or brown

We all share something in common


We are all one

With whatever God there may be

And whatever you do

Unto the least of my creatures

You do unto me.

Can I get an amen?

Categories: Poetry, Politics