Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Christine Rhein: The President’s Clothes

From the start, there were those who asked—
            so what, if his outfit makes no sense—
 
the high-priced fabric appearing cheap,                
            transparent—like nothing paraded
 
around the White House before. And spot-lit
            ever since—the need for embroidery,
 
the stitchwork wilder, weightier from one day
            to the next—the pattern of hype
 
woven over hype. We’re talking twisted
            threads—a barbed-wire look,
 
the way it screams for more accessories,
            garish frills, elements of fringe.
 
Think ready-to-wear! Nonsense becoming
            the rage, a uniform for senators
 
and representatives hot to slip it on. 
            Believe it or not—one size fits all—
 
the drape made to cover any backside,
            the pleats to hide extra-
 
deep pockets. Of course, you can take it 
            to the bank. Don it for playing
 
golf. Tailor it for walking into court,
            for oaths, pledges of allegiance. 
 
It’s all about the cinching of the cuffs,
            the choke of the collar, 
 
about sweating underneath new layers.
            And about a whole fashion tribe
 
buying it up, marching it down the streets,
            past police, guarded doors,
 
the Capitol—the runway of their dreams,
            a shit-smeared, blood-stained show.
 

Copyright 2021 Christine Rhein

Christine Rhein is the author of Wild Flight, winner of the 2008 Walt McDonald First-Book Series in Poetry.

Source: Quartz

3 comments on “Christine Rhein: The President’s Clothes

  1. Barbara Huntington
    January 11, 2021

    Yes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Barnes
    January 11, 2021

    An insightful, new look at a classic tale.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rosemaryboehm
    January 11, 2021

    Excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

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