Portside Culture



Dan Albergotti
March 31, 2017
Carolina poet Dan Albergotti ponders the death of democracy--and worse--asking: "Who chose this suicide?"

Subject Exhibits a Proclivity to Self-Harm
By Dan Albergotti

Remember Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy Yet, that did not commit suicide.
    —John Adams, letter to John Taylor, December 17, 1814

It’s true,
though very few
of those democracies
have taken their citizenries
down with them. A system might die, but us?
Yes, us. And fitting too. You know we fixed the noose,
we tapped the wrist to plump a vein. We elected the man.
We launched the raid, we burned the house, we enacted the ban.
We placed a child’s tiny white finger on the red
button. And soon: three hundred million dead.
No time to mourn, no place to hide.
Who chose this suicide?
It’s you, you see,
and me.

Dan Albergotti is the author of The Boatloads (BOA Editions, 2008) and Millennial Teeth (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), as well as a limited-edition chapbook, The Use of the World (Unicorn Press, 2013). His poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Five Points, The Southern Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and two editions of the Pushcart Prize, as well as other journals and anthologies. He is a professor of English at Coastal Carolina University.


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