Dear Debate Club, Please Accept This Letter of Resignation
by Robert Rubino
Life can’t be endless debates
each one definitively decided
by carefully constructed reason,
by luminously latticed logic.
If only it were all so dignified,
victory breathing clearly,
never smugly, defeat cleanly
wreathed snugly in acceptance.
But even Great Debates weren’t debates.
Lincoln-Douglas? Not unless
resentments raining reigning sixteen decades on.
Even historic TV debates weren’t debates.
Nixon-Kennedy? Not unless
flop sweat and shadowy shave
count against, haircut and charm for.
Curious how regular-life daily debates
once felt as vital as food, clothing, shelter,
debates with lovers, family, friends,
strangers, debates as urgent as sex drive.
Back-in-the-day debates about war, peace,
comedy, tragedy, inner child and outer space
stimulated the mind, yes? Even debates for
debates’ sake invigorated the spirit, no?
No. They didn’t. No matter how dazzling,
debates merely go ’round and ’round,
furiously whining like wheels spinning
in muck and mire, traction forever elusive.
Clinton-Trump debate? As real
as “reality” show from which
roiling rants rendering facts moot.
Life can’t be endless debates won or lost.
No points for being right, or righteous.
Even if such sketchy scorecards exist,
no matter, no points, no point at all.
Instead, all along, hiding in plain sight
in debates’ hazy dystopian maze, waiting
wordlessly like heroic stoic sentinels, stand
two of life’s noble needs: to be helpful, humble.
Done with lifetime of debates. What relief!
Finally. Late bloomer? But not too late
to seize the day, any day, or any moment.
Satisfy those needs with modest deeds momentous.
Robert Rubino has published creative nonfiction in Hippocampus Magazine, fiction in Elysian Fields Quarterly and poetry in The Esthetic Apostle. For more than 30 years he was an editor and columnist at daily newspapers.