Dear Mr. President

By Casey Rocheteau

for Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi

Sure, nobody’s perfect.
You inherited the cross from
the last guy who dipped it
in lead.

Nobody’s perfect, but nearly none of us
will wield your arsenal, and no one
but you makes the promises you will break.

Spit the name Guantanamo out
as if it were a loose tooth and
then tell me you were a good man once.

Your ambition belies bloodsport, big man.
You talk a good game, Overt Ops.

My street runneth over with a thousand
ornery beasts, necks angled to the dry earth.
You send them to greet anyone
who might know a word of conversation
about laying siege to the fortress.

You send them daily, firing reckless
upon children while you sit in your study,
mourning the dull glint of your peace prize.

You were not their first
master, just the first most like us
before you shovelled the money
back into the country clubs
before you alley-ooped the
Patriot Act, Air President.

Take your transparency charade
to the weeping sisters, and prove
to them your earnesty without making
a speech, without telling them, Look

You are still so far from being like us,
because you haven’t changed your mind
about who we are to you.
We, the united target demographic,
were persuaded in a process of dissolving.
You were not the slogan, nor the idol.
But we did not forget
that hope was the password,
what we want does not evaporate
so we became rain upon your parks.

Now I know not to speak for those
Who chant the name of a murderer
despite their innocence. Trust that
You and I are different because

I know
There will be another flood.
Always has been.

Casey Rocheteau began performing poetry at Hampshire College in 2003. She performs throughout the country, at venues such as the Green Mill, The Cantab Lounge, and Portland Poetry Slam. She has lead a variety of writing and performance workshops for adults and students from middle school to college age. She’s released two albums on the Whitehaus Family Record: Pump Your Concrete in 2008 and Chiaroscuro in 2011. Her most recent book, Knocked Up On Yes was released on Sargent Press in 2012. Recently her work has appeared in Amethyst Arsenic and Side B Magazine. Casey was a member of the 2012 Providence Slam Team.