‘Killing Me Softly’ With Hope and Change: An Elegy

I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style.
And so I came to see him and listen for a while.
And there he was this young boy, a stranger to my eyes.

“Strumming my pain with his fingers.
Singing my life with his words.
Killing me softly with his song.
Killing me softly with his song.
Telling my whole life with his words.
Killing me softly with his song.”

I went down to the Town Square
The crowd it roared and roared.
He stepped up to the lectern;
He could not be ignored.
He spoke of bold new changes;
They cried, “Hosannah, Lord!”

His words rolled down like thunder,
He said he’d quench their thirst.
He promised like no other.
It’s like a dam had burst.
Oh yes, this was a new day!
Oh yes, it was a first.

He ever was engaging
And was so definite.
He was sure of his staging,
Disarming with his wit.
This new world he was braving.
Yes, he determined it.

Look how he played commander.
Was that a laurel wreath?
Their hands raised to salute him,
“Hail, hail… hail to the chief!”
Agendas that were endless:
He gave brief after brief.

Oh, how he stimulated,
Spread trillions all around.
We’re so indebted to him,
And now we’ve nearly drowned.
And yet he still assured us
His policies were sound.

He was good with the blank checks.
He signed them with such ease.
Who was accounting for it?
Our nation has been leased.
And how much was he saving?
He brought us to our knees.

He popped up on our websites,
Ensuring our health cares,
Watching like a Big Brother
On all of our affairs.
He was our one Provider.
(Lord, did you hear my prayers?)

Income redistribution…
What further could he tax?
And did we read the small print?
How much slipped through the cracks?
Against whom was he waging?
Someday we’ll know the facts.

He bent far over backwards
And bowed down to the East.
He stirred up bold new treaties.
Our sovereignty has ceased.
He pledged to their allegiance.
The captives were released.

He went around unflagging,
Presided in crisis.
He had his constitution,
Dragged his feet with ISIS.
With bloodshed all around us:
Did he sacrifice us?

He said that all were welcome.
What goes were his decrees.
What’s legal were his borders.
I didn’t feel at ease.
He cried, “All ye, in come free!”
We’re now all refugees.

He walked us up the aisle.
Look now who can be wed!
He’s given us away, yes —
New vows are in our heads.
He groomed us. We are altered.
We eat the cake we’re fed.

Eight years are nearly ended.
What he did engender!
Whoever could imagine?
Free to change our gender.
What once was wrong, he’s made right;
It’s a real mind-bender.

He sang his song of great hope,
The tune he’s not forgot.
Progressive till the end:
He’s let us go to pot.
Did he do it? Yes, he did!
This ain’t no Camelot.

He’s made himself a great name.
He’s worked hard to impress.
He beat the bush if there was blame.
How well he used the press.
The Main Streets will be renamed.
How could we say, “God bless”?

The changes were breathtaking
We stagger shore to shore.
How firm is our foundation?
He swaggers all the more.
I feel all flush with fever.
What will be his encore?

I go down to the Town Square
I’m not sure what he’s left.
The liberties that he took;
Somehow I feel bereft.
I’m silenced. I’ve been muted.
The crowd’s roar makes me deaf.

“I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style.
And so I came to see him and listen for a while.
And there he was this young boy, a stranger to my eyes.

“Strumming my pain with his fingers.
Singing my life with his words.
Killing me softly with his song.
Killing me softly with his song.
Telling my whole life with his words.
Killing me softly with his song.”

Copyright 2016 
With use of lyrics in homage to original song “Killing Me Softly with His Song” by Norman Gimbel, written in collaboration with Lori Lieberman, 1971.

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