Washington, Jan. 20–So Sometimes fights break out, And so on. Now this portly, muscular Not that you can see anything And I heard America singing: "Fuck you all then." "Illegitimate motherfucker." "Get the hell away, "Go back to Idaho and "Yeah." "Get a job, drifter." And jeering. All over the Hippies in the distance "Leave Jesse alone!" Hippies taunt back, over "What?" Kids bait "Leave Jesse alone, "Haaah haaah…" "He said he was sorry!" "Ah-hah, dick!" Loudspeaker voices, refracted Presumably someone’s Fuck-you fingers in the Plump little cowgirl Texas "Bush! Bush! Bush! "…illegitimate president." "Fuck you, buddy." Guy outside the Metro "Hail to the tobacco "Shut the fuck up," "Hail to the oligarchy!" "Shut the fuck up, People straggled out of "Hail to the thief!" "Isn’t that Gore? "That’s Gore, "Shut up, you bastard." The heckler glided down Up on dark Pennsylvania A couple longhaired country "You see anything, "Just a bunch of police A third guy, a middle-aged "Huh. He’s "Aw, he ain’t "Someone’s "Nawwwww." "Someone surrounded "Who’s that? Laura "Naw. She’s wearing "Yuh. This one’s "This is flimsy shit." "Ain’t it?" Rain froze on the grand Tour buses were loading. "This is a great day," "Shut up." "You shut up." "Jesus." Citizens posed for photographs "Take it down," A teenager in an overcoat The hippie watched, strolled "No no no, take that The hippie removed the sign Hippie stepped forward and Guy with the camera, cursing, It angered me. Today they But the hippie maintained Everything was screwy. On the other hand, you had You could walk through the Walked up to the Gallery A bunch of policemen stood "…Eighteen rounds, "She’s administrative The eight army trucks rumbled A crusty black kid handed "It was a little tense "What protest?" "Just all of them. Across the street an abandoned Entered the MCI Center, "Historically, the And so on. Kloeppinger’s "Salmon P. Chase lived The Palace Theatre, and The house on H St. where "Seventh Street north "Center Market…was In other words, a civilization Rather, they concern themselves Georgetown pub, evening. "Did anything happen "That thing at 14th "Classy. The signs. "Just white kids whose "Or maybe I’m The college-age bartendress "George Washington The matron appraised her "That’s rude," The inaugural balls were College-age ballgoers congregated "You fellas have ID?" Stagey horror. "ID! All night you’d see On the Metro, a passenger "Yo, Matt, move your "Oh, is that what you’re Matt, you pure product of For the 50th time that day, Visited a DC journalist "I’m still confused I bid everyone good-bye. The bus let me off and I By 9:30 it was snowing. Man, I’ll tell you Two Hispanic guys, friends "Heyyyyy, baby. Hee "Hey mami you lookin’ Welcome to the New America. And some awful ethnic journalist "Hey, mami…" Slept in the almost-empty Two elderly men had struck "One guy. He had a "Good." "Did y’all get "I didn’t go, "Oh! Do you like it?" "It’s okay. It’s "Oh, there’s international "Yes." "…I ate at Chi-Chi’s. "Yes." There’s nothing like "I could tell he wanted "Good."
every four years there’s this rustling in the provinces, and the rustics
head east, toward the royal court. Horse carts jam on the high-roads into the
capital city, and one witnesses the grand pageant of the yeomanry: barkers;
crapulous reeves on piebald horses; whores selling mutton pies; pox-scarred
franklins; carbuncled highwaymen wearing Saint Christopher medals; hurdy-gurdy
men; manciples with bucklers; eunuchs working a sleazy itinerant trade in papal
indulgences. The city’s ruddy innkeepers collude, gouging pilgrims, charging
extra ha’-crowns for lodgings. Jugglers, fools in motley, mummers circulate
amidst the carnival crowds, and slumming knights with their squires, chivalrous
veterans of Flanders. So the city inclines toward the great day, toward the
and factions do hurly-burly in the alleys. Maidens battle with rolling pins,
and brawlers turn the carts over, littering the streets with cakes and flagons
young guy in workboots, a real bruiser, stalks the marble risers that line the
west side of the Mall–this Muscovite plaza. Swaggers along the row of moist
spectators, their necks craned in the direction of the Capital building, that
Unreal City, consumed by mists, materializing on this Inauguration Day out of
from here. It’s noon, the Inauguration ceremony’s in progress, but
the podium’s far beyond any of us punters’ ability to see it. So there’s
just this angry, workbooted bruiser, carrying a little Pigpen-cloud of static
along with him as he moves, baiting people, starting up with Grand Old Party
matrons, in town for the great day. Sticking his middle finger right up into
unsuspecting Bushie faces. And his comrades follow him, in their protest rags,
a nervous current trickling through Republican masses.
you son of a bitch."
Texas–where you came from, huh, you racist Republican motherfuck–"
Mall, in the rain-muted hum of the Sousa marches oompahing from the scaffolding
(and the huge videoscreens, smudges of color against the colorless noon), little
wars broke out–dustdevils on a plain, nodes of countervailing energy. Grunge-kid
protesters with placards and bumperstickers affixed to their black sweatshirts–DICK
CHENEY HATES GAYS–break out into open confrontation with Republican triumphalists,
under the freezing precipitous slop.
unrolled a black sign: ILLEGITIMATE.
the triumphalists screamed, satirically. "He didn’t mean to do it!
the great distance, but their words are lost in the fog.
from amidst the fratboy cluster, holding cupped hands up to their ears, laughing
at hippies. "What? What was that?"
you racists! He said he was sorry!"
through moisture: mwaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmm.
getting sworn in way up there, on the podium.
wives with thousand-dollar rodeo rigs and painstaking makeup jobs. Suburban
dads with brush-mustaches, their kids on their shoulders, sticking up into the
mesosphere like human weather probes. Jimmy Stewart-style oldsters who recoil
in confusion in their raincoats–this glowering silent son of a bitch is
in their faces, flipping them off, what?–guys who a thousand years
ago stormed beaches, fragged krauts in Cherbourg, disemboweled Japanese on atolls–and
who this morning collected their gentle wives and motored in at 45 per, hugging
the shoulder in ancient well-preserved sedans, optimistic despite the rain,
the Restoration so close they could taste it–
Bush!" people chanted at passing protesters.
Center train station wore a baseball cap, stood near a sign reading SUPREME
HYPOCRISY TOPPLES DEMOCRACY, under the eave, out of the late-afternoon weather.
He loped about in a tight circle around his sign, handing out stickers, hollering
with an amused inflection to his voice.
passing Bushies yelled back, but he took it in stride, couldn’t be dissuaded
by their abuse.
he yelled. "Hail to the tobacco president! Let’s get those kids addicted
the downpour, headed for the train. A father and son strode in, grim and loose-jointed,
metal-detector guys, the both of them wearing sopping "Sore Loserman"
t-shirts. The inaugural parade was over, everyone was headed home. There was
that tired, straggling, all-business-and-our-business-is-getting-home feeling
you get in the air after you’ve watched a big football game that consumes
all your passion, and then suddenly it’s over and real life reasserts itself,
the little constituent threads of the real reassert themselves, the matrix of
mundanity becomes reconstituted. Carnival time runs out, people head back to
their wives, hungover and remorseful, wondering where the money went. Rubbish
strewn all over the street. Guys would rip off their disposable ponchos, throw
them on the ground as if they represented everything that had to be left behind
about this contested, freezing, ceremonial day–this break in the continuum,
this Event of the sort that has to be lived through once in a while, endured
but not enjoyed. And they’d glide down the escalator, dripping toward the
dry train tunnels.
the guy in the baseball hat was yelling. "Hail to King George the Second!
Hail to the tobacco president!"
too. But Gore didn’t win, did he? Let’s get the kids addicted!"
into the Metro.
Ave. in front of the White House, tv crews broke themselves down on the media
stand across the street from the reviewing stand. The white and blue pavilion
was still bathed in the white-hot lights, it was too real. The whites were too
white, the royal blues too blue. You could climb to the top level of the now-empty
bleachers on the White House side of Pennsylvania Ave. and look straight over
the top bar, down onto the White House lawn and into the White House windows,
homefully lit and alive with bodies, the optimistic hubbub of a move-in day.
boys occupied the top bleacher step with a pair of binoculars.
and shit. And a nice set of china."
guy in a trench coat, obviously not part of their crew, hung behind them on
one step lower, looking tired. "You guys voyeuring?" he asked, stressing
the first syllable.
the one with the binoculars."
in there," the fellow in the trench coat said. "He’s at the Texas
in there. That’s Dick Cheney."
got one strap, and the other side’s down, you can see her–" He
broke off, and gestured with his hand in the direction of his left breast. Then
his attention broke and he lowered the binoculars to his chest and looked at
his feet. Started hopping up and down on the bleacher plank, testing it. It
sagged and flexed queasily under his old boots.
trees that line Pennsylvania Ave. The media and review pavilions faced each
other, both ablaze with arc lights. A blazing, silent, million-watt drama on
a night lacquered with rain. Beams howled down from cranes. Soldiers walked
in formal uniforms. Red, white and blue bunting lined the cast-iron fencing.
Golf carts sped, crew-guys coiled up feed-cables. Somehow this seemed an appropriate
ambiance for the consolidation of great power. Tourists wandered the stretch–dazed,
damp, stumbling in the direction of the crane-mounted tractor beam, like sci-fi-flick
provincials attracted by an alien radiance.
a woman was berating an elderly protester. She bustled in her red coat and with
her camera, gathering groups for photographs, waving family members into a phalanx,
hooking wandering children into the shutter-frame. She turned to address the
man. "We waited eight years for this day."
in front of the blank whitewashed wall of the review pavilion. Bugs pinned by
light against a white wax tray–when they moved away from the wall, you’d
see their guts smeared against it, or else the pure tv radiance would have seared
onto the wall the outline of their skeletons. A barrelshaped woolly hippie,
standing nearby, removed his knapsack from his back, squatted over it. Produced
from it a flyer. Soaked the flyer in a rain-puddle. Strolled up to the pavilion’s
white wall and affixed it at eye-level. Red letters declared: NO BUSH GENOCIDE
IN COLOMBIA. Crimson paint dripped down the wall.
a passerby yelled.
did so–walked up calmly, pulled the flyer off the wall, threw it on the
over, picked it up off the pavement and stuck it up again. Another red stain.
down," barked a man’s voice. A middle-aged guy in khakis held a camera
and, holding it, retreated respectfully until the guy’d flashed his kinfolk,
who grinned under the presidential seal. Gold carts buzzed around, functionaries
with two-way radios.
affixed the sign again. A third bloody dripping stain.
stepped up without even looking in the hippie’s direction. Ripped it down.
Ripped it to pieces. Stuffed the pieces in a trash barrel.
had given George W. Bush, of all people, the keys to the world, and this poor
hippie couldn’t even have his one bloody sign. I wanted him to have it
up there on the wall. It was his own little fragment, shored against what he
perceived as ruins.
his patient composure, dripping, an eternal part of the landscape, like a tree.
Even in the morning, in clogged Union Station, where some protest kids were
streaming off the trains and others had staked out floor-space to paint signs,
you could sense a strange caffeinated energy. Like, let’s get this done.
Washington had attracted only the extremists, the purest, most committed members
of the two dominant political American sects. The Red and the Blue, to use the
contemporary categories. The rustics had arrived to crown their strange new
king. The college kids with their protest signs and their black-sweatshirt anarchist
rigs had materialized in order to mess shit up. So on the one hand you
had the day’s Bushie majority, which–for reasons that have always
eluded me–finds something redeemable, something worthwhile, something admirable,
something even perhaps human, in that decadent, ignorant and destructive complex
of ideas known, misleadingly, as American "conservatism."
the usual youngsters practicing the privileged whitekid parlor game that’s
called "oppositional" or "radical" politics in this deeply,
even dangerously–because the self-absolving pretensions of privileged whitekids
have great social implications and costs, in a way that the self-absolving pretensions
of, say, poor Cambodian immigrants or poor-white Appalachians don’t–dishonest
political culture of ours.
city and watch factions clash. I’d lately read War and Peace, and
I felt like Pierre, gallivanting around behind armies, watching campaigns from
ridges, out of harm’s way, becoming progressively more amazed by the extent
of the waste, disorder and carnage. Gangs would verbally skirmish, retreat,
regroup–Rwandan units in the rain, some dressed as suburbanites and cowboys,
others as grunge-kids and old hippies. They’d stopping just short of actual
physical violence, although for all I know that might have happened, too, somewhere
in that weird city, somewhere in that giant rainy arena of a place.
Place-Chinatown Metro stop and found the MCI Center, the sports arena, presiding
over an emptied-out neighborhood, one of those wasted, empty, depopulated regions–victimized
by postwar concrete-bunker architecture–that typify American cities. National
Guard trucks rumbled in a line down F St. Soldiers in visored helmets,
flak jackets and shin guards loitered at their posts along the street, passing
ax-handles between their hands. Left to right, right to left, the gloved hands
caressing bonebreaking hickory, skullcrushing ash.
out of the rain in the station arcade, pistols strapped to their thighs. These
were big guys, obviously conscious of their power, talking through the bored
I said you retarded? Carry 18 rounds in your carbine…"
duty, she’s not carrying."
in the rain, you could feel the deep low-grade diesel-churning in your intestines.
Guys in fatigues stepped out into the street to direct the Army vehicles with
out religious literature–"Last Generation: To Prepare You for the
Final Conflict Between Good and Evil: Special Issue."
up here a while ago," he said. "They were lined up across the street.
They’re expecting the protest to come by here."
I’m not up on the political situation, but things are weird. This is the
first time they got to check your bags. This is the first time they’ve
ever checked bags for the Inauguration. They just up and search you now."
prewar office tower dominated its stretch of block. I looked at it for a while.
It was a beautiful old thing, white-tiled. It evoked a thriving old-time commerce,
from back before the days when Americans hadn’t, for the most part, given
up on the idea of the city.
looking for a way out of the rain, and read the glossy historical placards lined
up across from the box office. They presented kookily cheerful indications of
a lost civilization:
site of the MCI Center was at the center of downtown… [O]n the ground beneath
our feet, J.P. O’Donoghue ran a shoe store and W. Uttermehle a tailor shop.
Printing houses at 631-633 F Street are now the site of Sections 430, 431, and
432 in the arena. In the 1840s, Carroll Brooks sold groceries from what is now
Section 408. Belva Lockwood, the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme
Court, lived in what is now Section 201. Matthew Emery, the city’s first
mayor, lived on F Street. Children played here and family pets were buried here.
The following is a glimpse of what was once beneath our feet."
bakery, two stories, corner of 6th and G. Bergmann’s laundry, opened on
G St. in 1918, and "soon expanded into next-door stable." The gorgeous
home of the National Benefit Association, designed by W. Sidney Pittman (1875-1958),
one of the U.S.’ first black architects. The Barrister Building, 625 F
in this grand house on E Street while serving as Lincoln’s Secretary of
the Gayety Theatre. A confectioner’s.
John Wilkes Booth was said to have conspired.
from Center Market was a major business and retail street. Dry goods merchants
clustered nearby, including Mr. Saks, who began his business here before moving
to New York."
one of the great democratizing experiences of daily life in Washington. Society’s
upper crust mingled with servants and the working class while browsing the many
goods on sale."
exterminated, wiped from the face of the Earth. I stood in the empty arena lobby
for a while and dried out. Protester kids crossed the intersection outside and
down the street, past the trucks. A civilization trashed in the name of our
suburban dispensation, in the name of our culture’s weird geographical
logic, in the name of the way our civilization spreads itself profligately across
space. The very ground we were standing on–this lifeless block, dominated
by a sports arena for wealthy suburbanites–represented some of the most
damning evidence you can find against the culture these kids claim to be so
against. The bipartisan physical reality that surrounds these kids is a dehumanizing
joke–they live amidst waste and ugliness, a continental shoddiness–but
they don’t even notice. They ignore the evidence. It doesn’t even
occur to them to complain, to demand that it change.
with the big things. They write "ASHCROFT" on oak tag pieces, replacing
the "S" with a swastika. They carry on about how much Dick Cheney
hates his own gay daughter.
Lacquered middle-aged Republican matron sits at bar smoking. She speaks with
that pungent Southern-accented sarcasm, that mordant twang, which Southern women
tend to acquire after they turn 40. Her companion is a rumpled, tweedy elderly
gentleman of the common Washington genus Tipus O’Neillus.
today?" she drawled.
St.," the man answered her. "Tried to climb over the banister."
‘Bush Get Off My Bush.’ Beautiful."
fathers give them money and tell them never to come back."
just getting old. I mean, it’s like it’s 1968. Well, I gotta go. We’re
gonna be late. I been late all day. I don’t wanna be late for the ball
and miss the W. Because it’s at the Armory, he’s gonna hit that first.
Go now, stay until 11, 11:30. See what else."
broke in here.
U.’s having one. I got invited, but I’m not going. Guy who invited
me got mad because I wouldn’t date him. So he canceled the tickets."
as only a Southern woman can appraise other women.
she said, raking her up and down with her eyes, and you could tell she didn’t
think it was rude at all, she thought it was probably justice.
commencing. Walking up Pennsylvania Ave. from the White House up to Georgetown,
you could see people in black tie congregating in the lobbies of every hotel
and restaurant you passed. The Park Hyatt, Galileo, The Prime Rib. Sometimes
you’d walk by a hotel dining room and look through the window and downward
onto a vista: a huge table rimmed by Several Generations of Republicans, all
in severe black tie, the Older Republicans helping tuck the Immature Republicans
in behind their starched napkinage. Regular middle-class people dressing up
for the night in their rented rigs, religious people, decent folk, I guess,
and it was affecting. Sometimes the rooms were empty–elegant and empty–which
rendered the ambiance mauve and melancholic, like these people’d had their
party stolen out from under them. But maybe it was just early.
in the Georgetown pub now, clean-cut young men leading dewdrop girls in dresses.
Embarrassed on the night of my prom!"
tuxedoed kids all over the city, in transit–in cabs, clogging the sidewalks,
dominating the Metro. Only in Washington. Guys in evening dress on the subway,
headed toward bureaucratic balls. A whole rapid transit system that I think
exists only to ferry tuxedoed preppies on this one night every four years–a
system that blazes into its full reality only on Inauguration Days. Every other
night, the Metro system exists in a sort of half-real twilight, drained of vitality,
its heart isn’t in the work. Carrying porters, cleaningwomen, spinsters–such
are the mundane ferryings of the days. And through the long fallow periods between
coronations, the train engines pine in their electric hearts for the redemptive
ceremonies, and in the train sheds at night the engineers swear they can hear
the engines’ lonely sighings.
leaned over a tuxedoed preppy’s head to check the route map.
head. Guy’s trying to look."
doing? I thought he was trying to pick me up."
America, you’re unschooled in the negotiations that govern urban lives
on subway trains, and so you confronted my subway-rider’s harmless and
reasonable and quite helpless gesture with macho Republican excess.
it occurred to me how much Americans hate each other’s guts.
friend of mine at his house in Columbia Heights, sat with his friends for
a while eating Ritz crackers and watching the inauguration’s aftermath
unfold on the grainy black-and-white television feed.
by what’s happening, I haven’t figured it out," my friend said.
"I spent eight years despising the Clintons and now the situation’s
shifted. The Clintons, as much as I hated them, I understood them, I knew
people like that, I lived in their world. Everything that was disgusting about
the culture they epitomized–that yuppie meritocratic culture with its worship
of money and power, its smugness, its disregard for the violence it inflicted
on others, its hatred of everyone who was different, who wasn’t a yuppie
or a meritocrat–I understood that, as much as I disliked it, I understood
it. I went to school with those people. I’ve worked with those people.
With Bush, I’m totally against all his policies, everything he stands for,
but it’s something new, it’s this royal WASP thing, it’s something
I just don’t understand. I have no experience with it."
Walked through dripping poor neighborhoods–the buildings were ramshackle,
the front-yard gates swung open, and no lines in these neighborhoods are ever
flush–and over to 16th St., where I flagged down a bus going, as it turned
out, in the wrong direction. Rumbled blithely for 25 minutes through streets
that grew progressively more tree-lined and suburban until I sensed something
fishy and came to my senses, and asked questions of my fellow passengers–tired
working people, all Hispanic–and ascertained that I was actually in Silver
Spring, MD, where I had neither need nor intention to be.
walked in the twilight along the shabby commercial strip toward the elevated
Metro terminus. American ugliness, American waste–these edge-city landscapes
we compulsively build. From the elevated train back into the city you could
look down into the suburban ratlands. The interchanges, the traffic pulsing
along the malled suburban arteries, the lighted office-blocks rising from their
low-slung voids in the sooty distances, and the abandoned industrial manufacturing
infrastructure rotting in the interstices, twisted amber-rusted metal, forgotten.
Unreal city. Again, it bothered me. No one protests this. No one protests
reality, the way America unfolds itself around you, the way your body is forced
to fit into the contours of its landscape. No one protests the way the country
I stood around in Union Station waiting for the last train back to New York.
There was a slack, wasted, post-climatic anti-energy all over the station, all
over Washington, all over the world. Union Station’s lobby had been subsumed
by a ball–the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania ball. I stood outside the
entrance to the thing and checked it out, the Uninvited Guest, out in the cold,
trailing behind me the stench of my political cynicism. And here were these
people, celebrating their victory. Women floated about the entrance in their
gowns, headed over to the next-door stationary kiosk for cigarettes. Wafted
back into the ballroom, flashing their perfect slender postures and their golden
one thing. This GOP broad thing–it occurs to me that it’s extremely
compelling. A little slice of some kind of heaven: a whole goddamn ballroom
filled with lithe GOP broads, thousands of smooth-and-powdered whitegirls, veterans
of cotillions and field-hockey exertions, gliding in evening clothes, pearls
and blonde bangs. They’re married by 24. Wearing headbands, Hermes scarves
and J.P. Tod’s, they steer Volvo station wagons through the melancholy
Chevy Chase cul-de-sacs of their too-precocious matrimonies. They betroth themselves
unto wonks, guys who commute in to posts at State. And so the race perpetuates
itself. In bedrooms in Bethesda, in Chevy Chase, in Virginia, bureaucrats and
media hondlers and senior policy analysts screw their beauteous wives–a
miscegenation, a compounding of wonk and swan–who stare wistful at the
shifting bedroom ceiling, disinterested, clutching wonk-backs with halfhearted
fingers and dreaming, almost certainly, of ethnic editors of weekly newspapers
in New York City–
apparently, stood at the entrance with me–loose, chortling, slouching in
baggy trousers, backslapping, falling out–baiting the women as they emerged.
hee hee hee."
goooooooood. Hee hee hee hee hee…"
Can you imagine? Glide out from your ballroom, all hopped up from having met–that
very day–the President of the United States of America, the consummation
of what you’ve worked a full eight years for, your veins coursing with
the day’s triumph, the triumph of the Restoration, and you’re conversant
with Senators, you’re indulged by newsmen, no stranger are you to Georgetown
dinners, a habitue of fragrant White House drawing rooms you shall be, and tonight
you’re slender in your ball gown, queenly and golden-armed and achingly
blonde in your purity, when–boom!–all at once you’re walking
out to the magazine stand for a pack of smokes and there’s a couple Puerto
Ricans with their eyes popping out of their faces, throwing sleaze in your direction,
saying stuff about your ass–
in black boots, there with those Ricans–are they together? He snuffles
through his ethnic nose, his ethnic eyes appraise you. His rain-matted hair
sticks up omnidirectionally. Your underclothed body–you shiver from the
clammy violative energy that’s conquered this ruined moment. The smirking
ethnic scribbles in a notebook. The Ricans fall out. You grip your handbag,
you adjust your shawl.
late train as it screamed northward from DC though the snow.
up a conversation. Next to one of the gentlemen sat a teenage girl, traveling
nose like a Cuban parrot. And the flag came down and he started going ‘burn
it, burn it!’ I wanted to say something to him but there’s about 250
of them, and– There was a big cop there, and I could tell he wanted to
close to the inauguration?"
actually," the nice girl said. Nice kids kill me, especially nice girls.
You’re 16, you have to put up with all that shit–and still you find
it within yourself, somehow, to be decent, to speak respectfully to old men
on trains. "I’m going back to school. I go to boarding school."
a good…international experience."
students! There were some international students marching in the parade today."
It was excellent."
moving in a mostly empty train through a snowstorm. Baltimore looked beautiful.
Trenton looked beautiful. Newark looked beautiful. You could look down from
the trestle into the humble Newark neighborhoods, cleansed by snow. I saw a
pensioner walk out from a corner pub–an old neon sign threw silent gassy
blue light–and rock homeward at 2:30 a.m. through new-fallen snow.
to sock him."
Washington, Jan. 20–So
Sometimes fights break out,
And so on.
Now this portly, muscular
Not that you can see anything
And I heard America singing:
"Fuck you all then."
"Get the hell away,
"Go back to Idaho and
"Get a job, drifter."
And jeering. All over the
Hippies in the distance
"Leave Jesse alone!"
Hippies taunt back, over
"What?" Kids bait
"Leave Jesse alone,
"He said he was sorry!"
Loudspeaker voices, refracted
Fuck-you fingers in the
Plump little cowgirl Texas
"Bush! Bush! Bush!
"Fuck you, buddy."
Guy outside the Metro
"Hail to the tobacco
"Shut the fuck up,"
"Hail to the oligarchy!"
"Shut the fuck up,
People straggled out of
"Hail to the thief!"
"Isn’t that Gore?
"Shut up, you bastard."
The heckler glided down
Up on dark Pennsylvania
A couple longhaired country
"You see anything,
"Just a bunch of police
A third guy, a middle-aged
"Aw, he ain’t
"Who’s that? Laura
"Naw. She’s wearing
"Yuh. This one’s
"This is flimsy shit."
Rain froze on the grand
Tour buses were loading.
"This is a great day,"
"You shut up."
Citizens posed for photographs
"Take it down,"
A teenager in an overcoat
The hippie watched, strolled
"No no no, take that
The hippie removed the sign
Hippie stepped forward and
Guy with the camera, cursing,
It angered me. Today they
But the hippie maintained
Everything was screwy.
On the other hand, you had
You could walk through the
Walked up to the Gallery
A bunch of policemen stood
The eight army trucks rumbled
A crusty black kid handed
"It was a little tense
"Just all of them.
Across the street an abandoned
Entered the MCI Center,
And so on. Kloeppinger’s
"Salmon P. Chase lived
The Palace Theatre, and
The house on H St. where
"Seventh Street north
In other words, a civilization
Rather, they concern themselves
Georgetown pub, evening.
"Did anything happen
"That thing at 14th
"Classy. The signs.
"Just white kids whose
"Or maybe I’m
The college-age bartendress
The matron appraised her
The inaugural balls were
College-age ballgoers congregated
"You fellas have ID?"
Stagey horror. "ID!
All night you’d see
On the Metro, a passenger
"Yo, Matt, move your
"Oh, is that what you’re
Matt, you pure product of
For the 50th time that day,
Visited a DC journalist
"I’m still confused
I bid everyone good-bye.
The bus let me off and I
By 9:30 it was snowing.
Man, I’ll tell you
Two Hispanic guys, friends
"Heyyyyy, baby. Hee
"Hey mami you lookin’
Welcome to the New America.
And some awful ethnic journalist
Slept in the almost-empty
Two elderly men had struck
"One guy. He had a
"Did y’all get
"I didn’t go,
"Oh! Do you like it?"
"It’s okay. It’s
"Oh, there’s international
"…I ate at Chi-Chi’s.
There’s nothing like
"I could tell he wanted