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Henry Clay's Mouth Analysis

Author: poem of Thomas Lux Type: poem Views: 9

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Senator, statesman, speaker of the House,

exceptional dancer, slim,

graceful, ugly. Proclaimed, before most, slavery

an evil, broker

of elections (burned Jackson

for Adams), took a pistol ball in the thigh

in a duel, delayed, by forty years,

with his compromises, the Civil War,

gambler ("I have always

paid peculiar homage to the fickle goddess"),

boozehound, ladies' man -- which leads us

to his mouth, which was huge,

a long slash across his face,

with which he ate and prodigiously drank,

with which he modulated his melodic voice,

with which he liked to kiss and kiss and kiss.

He said: "Kissing is like the presidency,

it is not to be sought and not to be declined."

A rival, one who wanted to kiss

whom he was kissing, said: "The ample

dimensions of his kissing apparatus

enabled him to rest one side of it

while the other was on active duty."

It was written, if women had the vote,

he would have been President,

kissing everyone in sight,

dancing on tables ("a grand Terpsichorean

performance ..."), kissing everyone,

sometimes two at once, kissing everyone,

the almost-President

of our people.


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