Michael Ceraolo, poet [photo by Jesus Crisis]


May 2, 1972


“Greatest disgrace I’ve seen in public life”


                                                                    or


“The greatest comedy of errors that


I’ve seen in 20 years of public life”


                                                        (or both:


the two are not mutually exclusive)


                                                          And,


                                                                   possibly,


the first time polls anywhere were kept open


by a court order


                           (after the state’s top election official


said he had no authority to extend voting hours)


                                                                               so that


at least most of the people who wanted


to vote in the day’s primary would get a chance to do so


Most,


          not all:


                       there were


twelve precincts with no ballots cast at all,


even with the extended hours


                                                  Among


the ways people were disenfranchised:


voting machines not delivered at all,


                                                           or


delivered late on election day


by the lowest-bidder trucking company;


machines not programmed properly;


the keys to operate the machines


not delivered in time,


                                   or delivered at all;


paper ballots for those who wished them unavailable


All those with a stake in the system


were quick to say they didn’t believe


there was any dishonesty involved,


                                                         only incompetence


(something that couldn’t very well be denied


given its staggering scale),


                                            and


I believed at the time that only incompetence


was involved,


                        though,


                                     as time goes by,


I’ve learned the two aren’t mutually exclusive,


                                                                          and


when forced with an either/or choice between the two,


am less and less inclined to believe in incompetence




* * * * *
This poem comes from Michael Ceraolo’s not-yet-published-in-its-entirety work-in-progress Euclid Creek, Book Two.  We also recommend these Michael Ceraolo poetry collections:
 
Euclid Creek – available from
Deep Cleveland Books
Cleveland Scores Early – from Kendra Steiner Editions
Cleveland Haiku – from Green Panda Press

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