Photo accompanied story in The Diplomat in Spain. 
40 years from Nixon’s historical resignation

They said Richard Nixon resigned from his presidency.


But not before he let go the half-wolf, mutt 

into the eastern pasture; not before the half-wolf mutt

chased after the shaking flesh of sheep. Not before drawing

woolen blood ensuring lives lost here and there.  


They said Richard Nixon resigned from his presidency.


Was he sitting on a fine

mahogany chair that Mrs. Eisenhower

brought to the White House? Did its straight back push him to admit

that chasing after Vietnam while ignoring billowing opposition

was as vain as MacBeth’s vaulting ambition and efforts to vanquish

Banquo’s offspring and opposition, to forever hold a national throne?


What words could capture his internal dialogue as he walked

around his western White House, his Casa Pacifica, his

San Clemente Mansion?  As shattered water made a misty din 

and low flying choppers stole the radio dial, he 

could not beckon for Beethoven. Ransomed tapes would play. 

Nixon had a debt to pay; there would be more than ocean water

broken. Did he think at moments

about jumping toward the cold

forever of a heard no more?


Far away from DC and its balmy twilight

the Pacific Ocean muted this conversation between the “father” of 

a country and his conscience.


– no. 


You, see, when I was your age our president resigned. My parents wanted more, though: A full on impeachment and after that, my parents wished – wished that maybe this President would be better.  Or this one. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one. That during that year there would no more war. That that year there would be no hunger.  No disease. No shortage of medicine.  No shortage of father knows best or worst. That…


Today, let us bike for days

and not worry about reckless drivers and cold coverups toward

summer fireflies and our own balmy nights                   

quiet, quiet, quiet, 

quiet, quiet, 



©Tom Meyer, 2020

        Tom Meyer, a BAWP TC since 1991, is a founding Director of the Hudson Valley
Writing Project and Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and
Learning at SUNY New Paltz. This poem owes inspiration to James Taylor’s
song “Line ‘Em Up” and to Robert Frost’s poem, “Once by the Pacific.”




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