Clarence Darrow, Attorney for the Damned

Greg Palast

It’s Christmas and I’m waiting for that call,
“Dad’s dead. You should get on a plane.”

I’ll leave the kids under the palm tree
And the piña colada which I bravely don’t touch,
Leave my wife with the dirty shreds
of our marriage to pick up off the floor

To wait in airports
For the American coffin ritual
To mourn over ‘could have’ and ‘should have.’

My father is not dying alone.
There’s a shark, long as I am,
Drifting ill toward this beach.

The tourists are taking pictures.

One smart-ass has swum over to it.
A cruel young German.
And now they’re snout to snout.

If it were me floating there, dying,
I’d bite the little prick in half
and spit out the worst parts and laugh.

My father wanted me to be Clarence Darrow,
The great lawyer, Attorney for the Damned.
I’m not.

My father didn’t drink.
And that’s too bad.
Because there’s an ocean of alcohol
Between us
And love and a deep affliction of memories
too good to have been true.

And the soul which skipped a generation,
playing in the sand
with a coconut and a gecko,

Not named after him,
But after the man he should have been.


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Greg Palast

Greg Palast has written four New York Times bestsellers, including Armed Madhouse, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, now a major non-fiction movie, available on Amazon ”” and can be streamed for FREE by Prime members!

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