Starpoet by Lisa Jain Thompson
The StarPoet Newsletter
Vol. X, No. III (January 18, 2009 C.E.)
StarPoet Newsletter by Lisa Jain Thompson
You might have noticed (how could you not) that we have been tinkering with the StarPoet Newsletter layout. This is our latest attempt (we are batting a thousand this year in attempts) and getting close to final.  Progress also continues on the upgraded StarPoet website and it is ready for visitors.  So here we are on the cusp of both a new layout and a spanking new president.  What more can we ask for?
They’re inaugurating in Washington,
New York and old ‘Frisco,
300 million Americans
A president for to go

Beat the drum’s new morning
Sound those trumpets bold
Raise your voices one and all
The Republic still survives

— Lisa Jain Thompson c. 2009 CE
Lisa Jain
All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days; nor in the life of this Administration; nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

— John Kennedy's inaugural address on January 20, 1961
The weather 'round here
Washington Vergence
Sleet and snow,
Hurricanes and typhoons,
Closing in on inauguration day,
The world unsettles.

More wars than the news
Can assemble crisp sound bites,
Unemployment rising while the dollar falls,
Politicians vying for most generous American.

Demonstrations on the left,
Radios on the right,
Senators and congressmen
Blocking up the halls.

Welcome aboard, Mr. President,
How do you like Washington so far?
— Lisa Jain Thompson (January 2009)
Now the trumpet summons us again -- not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need -- not as a call to battle, though embattled we are -- but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation," a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

— John Kennedy's inaugural address on January 20, 1961.
we play this game better than anyone, we play it so well that by the time most people notice the game, it's over and has been over for some time.
The Only Game in Town
We play for blood
In sleepy ol' Washington,
Go for the jugular
Whenever it's exposed.
Our pace may appear southern,
Our discussions stilted and vague,
But the undertow is everything
And the uninitiated will find
They are six feet beneath the Potomac
With no one to throw them a line..
— Lisa Jain Thompson (January 2009)
a little night music
Before Morning Falls
The scent of your flesh
Lingers in the sheets beside me,
The taste of your skin
Roils through my well bedded memory.
I do not wish to wake my eyes
For fear this sweetness prove a dreaam
And this pleasant warmth that permeates within me
Dissolve in the morning's bright solitary.
— Lisa Jain Thompson (January 2009)
Something to Remember Him By

1. "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."-Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

2. "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."-Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000

3. "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"-Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

4. "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country."-Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004

5. "Neither in French nor in English nor in Mexican."-declining to answer reporters' questions at the Summit of the Americas, Quebec City, Canada, April 21, 2001

6. "You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.''-Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001

7. "I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."-Washington, D.C., April 18, 2006

8. "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."-Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

9. "I've heard he's been called Bush's poodle. He's bigger than that."-discussing former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as quoted by the Sun newspaper, June 27, 2007

10. "And so, General, I want to thank you for your service. And I appreciate the fact that you really snatched defeat out of the jaws of those who are trying to defeat us in Iraq."-meeting with Army Gen. Ray Odierno, Washington, D.C., March 3, 2008

11. "We ought to make the pie higher."-South Carolina Republican debate, Feb. 15, 2000

12. "There's an old saying in Tennessee-I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee-that says, fool me once, shame on-shame on you. Fool me-you can't get fooled again."-Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

13. "And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I'm sorry it's the case, and I'll work hard to try to elevate it."-speaking on National Public Radio, Jan. 29, 2007

14. "We'll let our friends be the peacekeepers and the great country called America will be the pacemakers."-Houston, Sept. 6, 2000

15. "It's important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It's not only life of babies, but it's life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet."-Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000

16. "One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures."-U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 3, 2000

17. "People say, 'How can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil?' You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in's house and say I love you."-Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002

18. "Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness."-CNN online chat, Aug. 30, 2000

19. "I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep on the soil of a friend."-on the prospect of visiting Denmark, Washington, D.C., June 29, 2005

20. "I think it's really important for this great state of baseball to reach out to people of all walks of life to make sure that the sport is inclusive. The best way to do it is to convince little kids how to-the beauty of playing baseball."-Washington, D.C., Feb. 13, 2006

21. "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."-LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

22. "You know, when I campaigned here in 2000, I said, I want to be a war president. No president wants to be a war president, but I am one."-Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 26, 2006

23. "There's a huge trust. I see it all the time when people come up to me and say, 'I don't want you to let me down again.' "-Boston, Oct. 3, 2000

24. "They misunderestimated me."-Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000

25. "I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office."-Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008
death as a moving target
The Lady In The Harbor
I'm going to die,
You're going to die,
Father, mother, sister and brother,
Whoopee! we're all going to die.

As Marcus said,
What does it matter
If we die tomorrow
Or a thousand years from now?

Dead is dead,
Not living, gone,
And all the worry ain't ever
Going to change the outcome.

Bye bye, baby, bye bye,
I'm going to lay myself down and cry,
Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow,
But someday baby, my baby,
Bye bye, baby, goodbye.
— Lisa Jain Thompson (January 2009)
The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that … so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God's help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.

And, after all, why shouldn't we believe that? We are Americans.

— Ronald Reagan, first inaugural address on January 20, 1981
the poet, starpoet
The Clash of Iron and Wood
For all the people I have ever lost,
For all the people I will,
For all those I will leave behind,
I write these lines
And gaze into the void unblinking.

For I am here -- we are here --
And will remain
With or without the universe's permission;
I live full knowing
And breath deep the stuff that stars are made.
— Lisa Jain Thompson (January 2009)
mother goose
Lisa Jain's Rime
From God to Adam, from Adam to Cain,
From Cain to Armstrong and Lisa Jain;
One for the land, two for the sea,
Three for the stars that shine over me..
— Lisa Jain Thompson (January 2009)
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the fourteenth day of the present month.

On the one hand, I was summoned by my Country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years: a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me, by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time.

On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my Country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens, a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with dispondence, one, who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpractised in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies.

In this conflict of emotions, all I dare aver, is, that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance, by which it might be affected. All I dare hope, is, that, if in executing this task I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof, of the confidence of my fellow-citizens; and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me; my error will be palliated by the motives which misled me, and its consequences be judged by my Country, with some share of the partiality in which they originated.

— George Washington First Inaugural Speech 1789
more night music
The Bright Side
Life, love,
Children if you've got them,
A dog to defend you
And remind you to sleep,
A slow lazy morning
With breakfast for two,
New Year's Eve
Dancing cheek to cheek
In the silence of your room
With the one who loves you.
— Lisa Jain Thompson (January 2009)
outside and in
The Cardinal's Tale
Red Cardinal sitting on the brown fence post,
Gray sky above, snow falling lightly all around;
A chill wind stirs the evergreen treetops,
The snow turns to water on the ground.
We sit on that cusp before true winter
When the warm earth's soil makes life still gentle
And the gnashing teeth of the Canadian Clipper
Are hours north and still decending
To shock us out of our complacency.
The storm approaches, the poet writes,
Each of us sure of our place in the universe
— Lisa Jain Thompson (January 2009)
Second Inaugural 1865
At this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention, and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it--all sought to avert it. While the inaugeral [sic] address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissole [sic] the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.

One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.

Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged.

The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"

If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him?

Fondly do we hope--fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether"

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

— A. Lincoln
the poet's fate
Lazing in the darkness,
Drifting in the night,
Body slipping off to sleep
While the mind still wants to play.

Rigatoni fills the stomach,
Rich sauce and parmesan cheese,
Eyes wide shut and focused
Between dreams and poetry.

Captured I am, neither here nor there,
Falling headlong through the cosmos;
Piece by piece, somewhere between the planes,
I pause and send these lines home to earth.

— Lisa Jain Thompson (January 2009)
the bottom line
When Luck Runs Out
Actions not words,
Results not promises,
Caesar must cross the Rubicon
If he wishes to gain control.

Fanciful rhetoric
And classical tropes
Do not feed one soldier
Or add glory to Rome.

All roads lead to the Forum:
If Caesar cannot govern the Senate,
All his tributes will be forgotten
And victory bleed out on the floor.

— Lisa Jain Thompson (January 2009)
It is time for us to realize that we're too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We're not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope.

-- Ronald Reagan's first inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1981.
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