R.I.P., Ted Kennedy

Rest in peace, Teddy Kennedy.
O last knight of Camelot,
O lion of the Senate,
O liberal Boston Irish hero, you
drank & fought & fought & drank,
though not always in that order.
Civil rights,
voting rights,
health care —
these were your issues.
“I have a dream.”
That was your famous line.
Or was it the one about some people see things
and ask why, but other people
see things that aren’t even there?
I’m sure you saw a few things like that.
Because let’s be honest.
Let’s get real.
Can we do that?
Let’s just admit that
you were not perfect.
That test you cheated on in college?
That thing where you drove off a bridge?
Not great.
You also betrayed your party
& ran against Jimmy Carter,
& cost your party the White House.
Not cool. Seriously.
But after that you dedicated your life
to helping the least fortunate among us,
& that, not the car crash,
or the backstabbing of Carter,
is what
you will be remembered for.
I think.
Also the way
your great pure noble spirit
drove the right-wing shitbags
crazy, so that they
hounded you
& smeared you
& made your life
a living hell.
Even now, the haters are out there hating.
Dredging up the past.
Jon Ive says your dad sided with the Nazis
& wouldn’t help the Brits
in World War II.
Jon says he can’t understand why we all
go around worshipping the Kennedys.
He’s even been telling Kennedy jokes,
like, “What is a Kennedy’s favorite sex position?”
to which the answer is,
“The full nelson.”
A bit unkind of him, I think.
As for me, I choose
to remember the other Teddy Kennedy,
the one with the marvelous mane of snow-white hair
& that wonderful Boston accent.
“Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd.”
And: “I have a dream.”
Those were your lines.
That is the Teddy Kennedy
I will remember.
The one who kept going —
on and on and on, hours after
everyone had fallen asleep,
in those marvelous speeches
with those ornate phrases,
those Latinate words
falling around us like softly swooning snow,
faintly falling, falling faintly,
those winding sentences
that took so long
to convey so little
& seemed as if they might never end.
Well, now they have.