To Chelsea, in My Dreams

electra at tomb of agamemnon

“You said they had found the secret of happiness because they had never heard that love can be a sin.” – O’Neill

I did not tell the world your name but kept
In secret what no government could pry
Away from me: Through warp and weave, I slept
With Chelsea Clinton, never asking why
It would not do us any common good to meet
Beyond the bed of Hypno’s diligent conceit.

In solemn mood you came, a maiden cut
From Browning’s tweedy cloth, a Stanford girl
With melancholy smiles, your bolts of chestnut
Enshrined in flowing lock and plying curl.
(O famous Morpheus! Let poet’s pen secure,
For her and me, obscurity’s own sinecure!)

And smarting as a tragic heroine
From Sophocles, Euripides or O’Neill
You came to me like dawn and stayed till noon
And time again had struck their shady deal:
“But hush!” You said, and sang instead of morning light –
Of origins of day, of  “incense owls by night….”

You thought adultery a privilege
Of presidents – their public moments reek
With blooming adulation’s entourage;
So bitterness commits a couple lines of Greek
To your memory: “No god harkens to the voice
Of lost Electra – no, nor heeds the sacrifice

Once offered by my father long ago.”
The testimony’s dress and legal suits;
The palace intrigue and tabloids’ ado –
Our hearts were met where head on breast refutes
An idiotic world, though wishes borrow time
And count them by the rhyming sense of reason’s dream.

So you’d your life and I had mine; we knew
The world was full of cares that cared for us
Much less than daughters for such fathers who
Inhaled Climene’s venomous nonplus:
I kissed your lips, and heard the Lethe speak your name….
All politics is local in Elysium.


  1. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Here’s a semi-related entry for the ‘Cool Story, Bro’ files:

    Sometime between about 2:30 and 5:30 this morning, I had a dream that involved, in part, taking an interstate road trip in a car with David Foster Wallace, whose novella Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way I had — in real, waking life — been listening to in audiobook form, and which novella includes a car trip that Wallace describes in excruciating detail.

    At one point in the dream, we drove beneath some big, strange-looking machinery (probably based on the car-wash I’d driven through in real life yesterday). Seeing the machinery spin overhead, we simultaneously said, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Then, realizing we’d both uttered the same squarish middle-American phrase at the same time in response to the same sight, we each chuckled, again simultaneously (cf. the end of End of Watch). By that point, I was conscious of the dream as a dream, and conscious, too, of how presumptuous it was for my subconscious to imply some kind of fraternal solidarity between me and Dave.

    Only now do I realize the possibility — purely theoretical — that the scene wouldn’t necessarily be presumptuous, if it didn’t necessarily originate in my own mind….

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