Michael Ceraolo, poet [photo by Jesus Crisis]

May 2, 1972

“Greatest disgrace I’ve seen in public life”


“The greatest comedy of errors that

I’ve seen in 20 years of public life”

                                                        (or both:

the two are not mutually exclusive)



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


          not all:

                       there were

twelve precincts with no ballots cast at all,

even with the extended hours


the ways people were disenfranchised:

voting machines not delivered at all,


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),


I believed at the time that only incompetence

was involved,


                                     as time goes by,

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


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