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The Voter

February 15, 2021


I wrote this song on election day, November 3, 2020, while the returns were still coming in. Earlier that day my 20-year-old son tested positive for Covid and now sat across the room from me in a mask and face-shield, breathless in more ways than one, as the man on the screen assembled his jigsaw of red and blue. The boy’s fever had hit 101; he was shivering but riveted by the story that—as we now know—was just beginning to unfold.

The Voter

I’m a character in your narrative
A player in your game
I’m a piece upon your chessboard
I’m the fan upon your flame

You built yourself a platform
You spoke loudly, you spoke long
You won yourself attention
You earned yourself this song

And when all the counting’s over
I’ll still be here in this town
You’ll define me and decry me
You will say I’ve let you down

I will call myself forgotten
Though I never have been known
Misremembered, misbegotten
When my soul was out on loan

And you up in your tower
Sitting on your golden chair
You will waver, you will wallow
You will call this world unfair

I am lonely, you’re surrounded
I am sick and you are well
But your dreams have been confounded
And I wish you well in hell.

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