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Subject Exhibits a Proclivity to Self-Harm

March 31, 2017
By Dan Albergotti
Portside (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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