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JAMES DOYLE THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE* 1 The Governor's Office The Governor has it easy. He says: "Do this!" - - and it's done. Staffers Scurry in reply. In private rooms They whisper to each other furtively Like lovers. His feet are propped Upon a high state desk, its seams Cut from ancient wood. He is waiting. The aides agree on a solution. Everything is served up brightly packaged. They watch and worry. They cherish Worry, have studied manuals on it. When he smiles, relief like a rush Of water bursts across the office. Life is imminent. Birth is good. 2 The Press Secretary Alchemy is not dead. Over the blue Flame I purify all manner of base Happening. The unthinkable is made Casual, the casual brought to a low Shine. In my laboratory I hover Over words while the wire service Hums. The reporters my assistants Gasp and rush to duplicate creation. In the divine imago of the average Voter the Governor is dispatched On air waves through the state. Give Me room. Let me have my way. His face Will shine from every wall, his name Pulse in every mind like life itself! * Three sections of this sequence were published in the Spring 1973 issue of Beloit Poetry Journal: "Meeting Needs", "Priorities", and "Looking Backwards". 3 Meeting Needs The mail is pouring in so we know That there's a problem. A section Of the statutes is archaic - - our laws Forbidding fornication and the rest. Editorials abound. The staff decides To solve the problem. A Special Ad Hoc Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee On Sexuality will be formed. It will be Balanced as to interest, race, religion. AU must be included - - sadists, sodomists, Simple perverts - - provided they are active In our party. The Chair will be a liberal Black transvestite from the rural areas Of our state - - to whom we owe a favor. 4 Priorities The shades are drawn. The Governor leans Forward: "Gentlemen, this legislation Must be passed as a favor to a friend Of a dearest friend who helped us when We had to move that bill requested By an influential party leader whose Support meant all the difference in Carrying our disadvantaged brothers by Ten thousand votes despite a biased press Who twisted out of context that casual But ill-timed comment by my cousin, Our candidate for sheriff, who referred To unfair questions on his funding sources as Nothing more than niggers in the woodpile." 6 5 Guardians Wearing suitcoats with a traditional Bulge, they fold the Governor in blue Wings and fly outward from his office To social gatherings as one. They swoop Down on a huge estate. As the Governor waits Without, they frisk the liberal hostess And her friends, who smile with understanding A small price for such a prize catch on a slow Night. While their tireless hands perform, Their eyes scour the premises for bombs And other signs of opposition. Security Is eternal vigilance, a middle-age zeal For purging deviation, a delicate dance Of mind on the head of a firing pin. 6 The National Governors' Conference - A Diversion Like the great movie idols of the thirties Playing cameo variations on themselves In the technicolored follies of each year, The Chief Executives arrive. They sweep Forward from their chauffeured state patrol Cars into the dazzling arc-lights of a national Premiere. Instead of starlets, secretaries Bubble in their wake. The liberals, of course, Sensitive to the times, display an entourage Of top-flight female staffers, professionals With auburn hair and decision-making powers That defy imagination. The crowd is breathless As the Governors audition for another all-new Musical variety version of "The Next President". 7 Let's Look at the Record Last year we aimed at safety on our roads - A million restaurant place mats, calendars With car wrecks, buttons and brochures, all Carrying a picture of the Governor. By January First we could anticipate success - - three Under the previous year's total of one Thousand six hundred and forty-seven Deaths. (Only the third decrease this century In our state!) But March First is the cut-off On fatalities and six remain critical. If we Can keep...


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