Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 2, 2010

Entry for One Shot Wednesday

I voted today
in the linoleum yellow underbelly of
Emmanuel Lutheran
the place that plays Kumbaya to me
on great big bells while I sit by the river

was it only strange to me
to be voting in a church?
maybe more so to people
who still like our church and state separate

I stood in line for my ballot
taking in the colorful Alleluia banners
the children had made
I wondered what they celebrated,
what they praised and gave thanks for as they made them

driving to the polls I was behind a semi on the freeway
on the back a sign with an American flag told me about
our country not giving aid or comfort to "the enemy"
Shock settled in        anger stirred
as if all the people - the citizens - of Afghanistan and Iraq
are our enemies          personally
they're as helpless to their governments
as we are to ours
in the dust next to the sign
someone had written the name Jesus
He would be hurt, I think, to see this
maybe even ashamed       or that's just how I felt
I don't think Jesus believed in enemies
I don't either

but waiting for that line we've all felt so divided
I've never felt us so polarized before
it scares me
I feel obligated to vote only D
because the things the R's say -
they really scare me
but I wish I could vote G or I
without feeling it a loss

behind collapsible plastic privacy
a black felt marker with
No. 2 oval holes
I break out my cheat-sheet
(yep, I wrote it down. just to be sure)
fill in all the right spaces and
a machine - secretly - sucks it away from me
I got a sticker (my favorite part)
I don't know if I've changed anything
or how much of a difference one can make this way
I'm not sure I trust the whole thing
much more than McDonald's Monopoly
but, I suppose, Alleluia
that I have a right to try.


  1. This is sharp. I love the end. Glad you wrote for one shot.

  2. Wow! to the point and no messing around!

  3. You certainly tell it as you see it. Well done on a wonderful piece. Though we have a different voting system here in England I certainly have similar thoughts on the strangeness of voting in a church as we do.

  4. Myrna - Thanks! I was a little nervous to share but I'm glad I did.

    YogaSavy - Yep! Straight to the point. I was trying to sort out the feelings I had about voting. It's a weird thing...

    Petty Witter - Thanks so much! In America, a lot of voting takes place in schools. I'm not sure why my polling location was a church but it was a big, beautiful one.

  5. Back in 2006, my polling place (before re-districting) was a church, so I know exactly how you feel.

    By the way, "linoleum yellow underbelly" is genius.

  6. Thanks! (secretly, that's my favorite line of this poem)

  7. Just stopping by to say hello and ask if all is well. I don't mean to be nosey or anything like that but it has been a while since you posted and I was starting to wonder.

  8. Thanks for missing me! I've been unfocused lately, just so busy and having a hard time putting my thoughts together.