I started this poem fifty years ago
yesterday – the day JFK was
I cannot remember where I was
when I first heard the news. Wherever,
subsequently I tried out lines in my head
as I walked Liverpool’s windy streets.
Not a word of that first attempt survives.
Maybe I have become more skilled or, perhaps,
time has informed both content and style –
or, simply, made the past tractable.
On reflection, his murder was a very
modern, democratic even Tinsel Town
affair – dysfunctional shelf stacker
slays serially adulterous,
medicinal dependent president,
whose brains are captured on camera
leaving his shattered skull;
the assassin is shot – also on
camera – by a night club owner, dying
of cancer, in hock to the Cosa Nostra,
and who did it for ‘Jackie’, who returns
to Washington in her splattered pink suit
to ‘show them what they have done.’ Her pronouns
were significant, enigmatic,
accidental. Would he have been great?
Think Cuba, Nam, the Moon…