Four Poets I Would Elect to Be President of the United States…

…and the Subsequent Consequences of Their Presidency – John Mortara, Lookout Intern

(1) : After many accusations that Frank O’Hara’s campaign had been secretly funded by The Coca-Cola Company, he wins by a landslide. The entire nation celebrates, and I with it. The first three years of his term are filled with pleasantly casual but deeply-nuanced press conferences concerning café napkins. In his final year President O’Hara completes his goal of rebuilding American infrastructure. A high-speed rail system is constructed across the entire country in no particular direction at all, and for the express purpose of Americans reminiscing about other Americans whilst riding it.

(2) : In a surprise upset (and possible transcription error), Emily Dickinson is elected President of the Free World. With her administration comes a return to good-old-fashioned American isolationism. Countless letters are posted, begging the newly minted Commander-in-Chief to join us outside of the White House. Meanwhile, war breaks out in the Middle East. President Dickinson issues the following statement via her sister:

                        What’s a state without borders?
What’s a war that can’t be won?
Quit your fighting—your killing
And shh, Jersey shore is on.

(3) : In keeping with his campaign promises, William Carlos Williams repeals Obamacare on Day One. The seat of the Republic is immediately moved to Patterson, New Jersey. Each American is evaluated personally by W. C. W. and his “Willycare” specialists at St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic. My heart palpitations, the pain in my left arm, and my inability to breathe are diagnosed as both “so sweet” and “so cold.”

(4) : Tracy K. Smith is sworn-in as Head of State on January 21, 2013, much to my inner-boyhood-astronaut-wannabe delight. The poet promptly funnels all federal funding into NASA’s budget, despite Neil deGrasse Tyson only asking for “a penny on the dollar.” Hyperdrive is completed instantly. The little dreamer inside of me volunteers to leave Earth and travel the far reaches of the galaxy in search of life “out there.” Unfortunately, it’s crickets. In the end, we realize meeting aliens isn’t important at all. Our new universal perspective that we are “all one” as a global society turns out being kind of great, and then, kind of “mushy” and “gross.”