Monday Musing: President’s Day

Well, it’s President’s Day in these United States. And it just so happens that I’ve recently become fascinated with that group of early Americans and Founding Fathers whose names resonate as huge and historical but about whom I’ll confess I’ve never known all that much. I’ve started reading biographies, some studies by American historians and scholars, The Federalist Papers, the correspondences between Adams and his wife Abigail and then between Adams and Jefferson. The latter are particularly amazing; they’ve changed me, changed how I think about Americanness, good and bad. The debate between Adams and Jefferson about what they thought democracy was supposed to look like is mind-blowingly interesting, really. Alexander Hamilton is a huge figure—a huge brain, half-mad, scary son-of-a-bitch, awesome, admirable. And Benjamin Franklin isn’t just the cute and cuddly little tinkerer with his kites and crap you hear about. The man was a polymath giant and pretty funny too. Madison, Jay, some of the lesser-known figures like Paterson and then Monroe—they really are massively fascinating figures.

But there will be no hagiography here. So, in lieu of semi-nationalistic ass-kissing I give you some tidbits from a project I’ve been working on here and there when the time and mood affords. It’s about 80 pages long now and it purports to get into the heads, subjectivity if you will, of some of those figures who are hard to think about in the flesh and blood, warts and passions, failings and complexities sort of way. I pretend no deep insight, just a feel for the ‘mood’ and ‘sense’ of some of these figures. I’ve made them talk and think in a modern-day man-on-the-street vernacular because it was pleasing to me to think of them that way. That is what made them real to me again.

Anyway, it’s my tribute to individuals who were simply extraordinary, other judgments, for the moment, being held aside. Finally, I apologize for the language, this being a family website. But you go where the muse takes you, damn it.

John Adams

Took a walk today.
Shit-ty day.
All the birds must
Be dead or goofing off.

Why do I get so
angry at birds?

Who knows.
But, I do.

We’ll have to get rid
Of all the animals
Sooner or later.
Or most of them.
Immolate them in a
Great fire
Like the early Greeks
And their
Stupid rites for
Pantheons of false

Drive the animals into
The sea.

But for now let
Them putter on
The smooth hills,

When I move
My left foot
I feel rage.

I walked for
Seven miles.

The smooth hills were
Alive with animals
And their cries,
Crying out laments about
Death and simultaneous
Pleas for more sex.

They wouldn’t dare
Fuck the dead earth
Like I do.

You know it,
I know it,
Abigail knows it.

She cooked a plum pie
Last night.
I threw up when she
Lanced the skin.
It was like war in there,
Pulpy madness.
Tasted fine though,
Sweet and bitter
And fine.

Alexander Hamilton

This coat looks like
Crap and I’m getting fat.

Have the tailor executed,
I quipped,
Then burn his store
And rape the shit out
Of his horses.

It’s so motherfuckin’ boring in
The countryside.

Everybody thinks they
Know something.
Everybody thinks they’ve
seen something.
But they’ve only
Witnessed gleams
On the sides of barns,

Little neuron
Misfirings in the
Frontal lobes.

No one knows shit.
That much I know,
Without even dragging
My tired ass to
Which is simply
A rock, in the
Middle of nowhere,
For the sun to shine
Upon in the morning.

James Madison

Were we really
Like demi-gods
Back then?
Someone said that—

Now I can’t feel
my left leg and my
fingers always smell
like Gruyere.

The older I get,
The more I think
There should have been
One senator for
Every person.
That way, each
Person would
Have a senator.
And vice versa.

And we should have
Developed a new language
With a tense just
For lying,
And a verbal mood
For things we utter
Into young boys’ ears
To make them fear living.

And we should have
Designed new clothes
To seem more
American; so when
You put the great suit
On and latched up
the buckles,
tied on the extensions,
inserted the medallions…
The people would say
‘That’s an American coming’.

‘That’s an American suit.’

George Washington

To really fuck
With people,
Just don’t talk a lot.

Act like you already
Know something.
They keep talking
and you’re a
brick house…
It fucks with them.

Everyone is scared,
Everyone wonders whether
They are dumb,
Or ugly,
Or both.

Just stare and think
About something else.

I like to consider
The puckered assholes
Of youngish black girls
When people are

Just keep talking
I’m thinking,
continue your prattle;
For me
Every new sentence
Is another black

Thomas Jefferson

Just got in
From a long ride.

I wish someone
Would sing to
Me until their throat
Fell out and they died.
Then I would eat
A pheasant and
Some rich sauces.
Then I would go outside
And bury one
Of my goats up
To its head
Until the next morning.
You can blah blah
All you like, goat,
You’re staying in the ground
Until the sun comes up.
Then I would ride
Out to the end
Of the property
And cut my favorite
Tree down,
Unable to stand the
Sound of the
Goat’s cries.
Then I would
Take a bath with
Every fucking nigger
On the plantation.
One after the other,
In succession.
Then I’d write a letter
To France and go
to bed.

Dear France,
You made a pretty
Good frickin’ joke with
Me, didn’t you?
Ha ha.
Now who’s laughing?

George Washington

“How do you
stand so great?”
asked Morris,
“you’re like a
mortal Apollo
or a graceful


“While we twist
and dangle
like a coterie
of faggots.”

I didn’t answer.

But the truth was
Two stories.

I place a chestnut
Betwixt my
Each morning.
I squeeze it all day
I’ve never ever
Dropped it.
That precious

I think of the
I think of the
Occasion I
Fucked my own
Sister, and
Without her
In short,
I’m a man who’ll
be burning, soon.
I’m a man
Who waits
For the Devil.


That’s why
I’m great.

James Madison

I’m pretty sure
My wife
Has the biggest tits
In Virginia.

I’m like, what,
Four foot ten.
Her left tit is
My size.

Each of those
Milky glands is like
A brother to me.
And they’re smart,
A dual nippled genius.

We fight and we talk
And we dream,
Usually in the
evenings, best in
The summers, amongst
The fireflies.

“Tell me a story, tit,
I’m feeling sleepy.
Of Tacitus
Or Catiline,
Or Benjamin Hoadly.”

When the sun goes
Down on the shitty
Little prairie, I’m usually

They’re a
Perfect union,
They’re a perfect

George Washington

I hated to see men
I did.
But also I didn’t
Always give a shit.
Go figure.

Sometimes there’s nothing
Funnier than a stone
Dead human.

Sometimes you’re
Quivering to find a
Corpse somewhere,
Rigid, frozen, broken
Human forms.

Completely empty meaningless
Faces aren’t even

They’re nothing.

I have a box
Full of shit.
It’s in the attic.
Dead people stuff,
Stripped from corpses.
Nice stuff,
Some silver.
Watches, hundreds of
Ticking away upstairs
For no reason.

John Adams

Skiddely skoo
Skibbeldy ska
I’m having a good one

I woke up
And farted right
In Abigail’s face.
You should have
Seen her look.

“I’m still alive,
I was saying,
“I’m still alive.”

I grabbed a switch
and went after
John Quincy
With purpose.
“I’ll tan your
hide boy!”

But he’s like
50 now and
he’s bigger than me,
and pretty fast.

We ran around
In the yard
With no pants on.

He’s got a pretty
Big dick
For an Adams.

The sun was
Warm and big
And spitting all over
The fields.

“This is something,”
I said to
One of the pigs
“We did it.”

Alexander Hamilton

I’d like to
Lay this whole gay
Thing to rest.

What is gay anyway?
Is it having
Certain kinds of
Is it a feel for
Fabrics? A certain
Specific inversion?

I loved him.
And when he
Died I sobbed and
thrashed like
Achilles and felt
Similar rages.
I too would have called
Down Apollo’s plague
Had I any sway
Over heaven’s affairs.
But Achilles’ mother
Was immortal and mine
Was just a slut floozy
From the tropics.

Slaves and sugar,
Dysentery and the clap,
Ain’t exactly fucking

Truth is,
He had a lust
For death anyway,
He connected it with
I remember how
Writhing his sinews
Were to touch them,
How hot his skin
Could get while
Still somehow icy.

In trajectory he
Was an arrow:
No swerving.

There was no
Battle he didn’t try
To die in.

That’s the story.

But I never fucked him,
Not once.

James Monroe

Just dinking around
the house today.
Started in on
Heavy cider at
Sun up.

Now my face
Feels like
It’s sliding off
My body,

The wife fell
Into the fireplace
The other morning,
Another case
Of the shaking.
She’s wrecked now,

My Lesbia,
My Cynthia,
My Laura.
Tanto piu’ di voi,
quando piu’ v’ama

I’m going outside
To douse myself
In rain.

My love.
I failed you.

Benjamin Franklin

I’ve discovered that
It isn’t possible
To mate a warthog
With an earthworm,
Even if the earthworm
Fully enters the warthog

A dog won’t bang
A mouse,
Regardless of how much
you electrically
Shock them.

A cow and a
Horse will
Potentially get it on
In the evening,
Though, mysteriously,
Not always.

You can do pretty
Much anything you
Want with a goat.

If you replace
The innards of
A chicken with
Those of a piglet,
they both stop working,
unless I just
screwed up a few
of the connections.

The world is
Filled with gases,
Different kinds of
Gases, and that’s
about all the info
I have on that
Right now.

The Jews are
Watching everything
We do with great
Interest, no
Pun intended.

I’m gonna measure
The rest of the
Stuff in the house