I vote for Ilhan Omar (A post-election poem).

Like a wave,

I woke and felt despair

crashing down around me,

filling my eyes and nose and my ears.

538 and the New York Times agreed:

Our President had mutated into its future self.

As if overnight, a man handsome, tall and black

Whose name I shaved into my hair when I was in college

Turned into a goblin, stumpy-smug blond and wispy white.

But Donald Trump is not a goblin

And his supporters are not wicked people

He ran on a platform of wickedness

But even the people who call to hurt and deport my friends

And even the Neo-Nazis who snicker around twitter

Pasting their gleeful pictures of gas chambers

Even they are not wicked.

They speak with wickedness, yeah, but if all our souls our pure,

And I think that they are, then theirs are, too.

But so mobs. We know from mobs. Civilized mobs.

Revolutionary ones. Well-educated and poorly-educated ones.

Fragile flesh borne forward by the wave-like rush

of the soothsayer’s promises that you are better than they are.

Which, I think, we all know how to hear, if we are being honest,

Listen closely to your past and isn’t it right that at some time,

At some point, some voice —in or out — told you to want to kill

And to hurt the Wicked Ones and it tasted good, somewhere in your gut?

The point, then, is to be angry and gentle, right?

Ruthlessly viciously gentle.

Not to despair. Heschel, whose sweet soft family was slaughtered

By one of the various mobs, told us that.

And he was right, I think. Despair, he taught, is when you think

Only about yourself. Despair is when you forget that all we have,

Literally all we have, to quote my brother, that is worthwhile is love.

I cast my yiddishe vote today for Ilhan Omar.

And I will cast my human vote tomorrow for Ilhan Omar.

For love, let’s fight hard. Not fight the Wicked Ones,

But wickedness. It was chilling to read, last night,

That Primo Levi wrote that people had once viewed the architect of his torment

as a buffoon. But so the chill has to turn into a controlled fire. This wild gentleness

Is the only thing that can melt the wickedness, can remind that we are all

yes, all, deserving of love. Let’s fight.

November 8th, 2016.