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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

debates-turned-bloody-hates count,

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

debater-turned-stalker spewed,

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.

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December 2018

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