By Ubs Reece Idwal

“We reject the president-elect.” —protesting chant

In Portland, Oregon, four thousand demonstrators came,
protesting the election, passions fuming, hate aflame.
At first the demonstration was a fairly peaceful trip;
some only vandalized Toyotas at a dealership;
and in the Pearl District only smashed the windows of
some businesses they passed, these marchers filled with righteous love.
But then they met more passionate protesters on their route,
and vandalized more cars and buildings, knocking power out.
With bats in hands, projectiles flung, they fought against police;
but other than that, in gen’ral, it was still a march of peace.


Ubs Reece Idwal is a poet living in Washington State.

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10 Responses

    • Michael Dashiell

      Indeed, I was confused. There was another Don Shook In my hometown, but that you quoted a line from one of my books that was only locally published sent me off in the wrong direction. So do you have a copy of “I’m Fond of Rhyme” in your possession or are you familiar with it via a different means? Stray copies have seemed to drift about the country and I had it scanned and made available on Google Books as well.

  1. Carole Mertz

    Well done at describing the scene and, in addition to the rhyming, making us feel you were simply telling us a story. I second Dashiell’s comment that it is very direct in the telling. Thank you

  2. Ubs Reece Idwal

    J. Michael Dashiell,

    The poem is immediate. I wrote the poem this morning. Your comment reminds me of an earlier, preposterous ottava rima.

    The Golden Mean
    by Erisbawdle Cue

    Seeking the golden mean is like looking
    for El Dorado near Orinoco.
    You’d have more luck with a third class booking
    to the volatile state of Morocco.
    Some would say King Midas was the true king,
    but his fingers were far too rococo.
    Forgive me, if this gets too irony;
    my touch is a little too Byrony.

    Of the dozens of Romantic and PreRomantic, poetic figures, it is Byron whom I most admire, not least because he, nearly alone of them all, highly regarded Alexander Pope to the end; however, my poetry probably draws more heavily on suggestions of Blake, Keats, and Dickinson, along with the dramatic fire of Shakespeare.

    I agree with a sentence from your Preface, “Pop music and rock & roll testify to the naturality of rhyme to song lyrics and the advertising media has known the value of rhyme in selling a product.”

    Don Shook,


    Carol Mertz,

    You are correct; I am simply telling a brief newstory in rhyme. I am striving for that directness that you speak of, but my docupoetry still needs work. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could capture the understatement of Hemingway with the direct, brilliant rhetorical flourishes of Shakespeare.

    • Michael Dashiell

      I’m a bit astonished. First let me commend you for your use of ottava rima and multi syllable rhymes. It’s Byron’s Don Juan stanza and my favorite type. Of course, I used it in my “I’m Fond of Rhyme” Dedication which I assume you apparently read. Your quote of a line in this book’s Preface greatly surprised me. In fact, I had to check to see.
      I think I likely knew your father also named “Don Shook”. He used to join the coffee crowd in the old Corner Drug Store. He claimed he was a poker player and gambler. He died several years ago, didn’t he? He referred to his son he called “Donny”. I assume this is you? I may have met you once in Syd’s or the Silver Dollar? Of course, I was likely drunk, but I quit drinking in 2003. This is quite a coincidence to encounter you in this website. It seems for whatever reasons, Noblesville is a home of formal poets. I’d appreciate a reply.

  3. Murray Alfredson

    Ubs Reece Idwal’s piece feels to me more like a journalist’s report than a poem. Rhyming couplets do not for me lift it above the level of factual prose. Sorry, Ubs! I expect some twist, some insight in a poem.B29P

  4. Juanita

    I’m confused by Murry’s last comment. I thought there was precisely a twist at the end. All this violence is going, but someone people still call or think of it as being “a march of peace” and give it an air of undeserved legitimacy. Also, it is newsreport-ish, but it is in subtle satire form, note “only vandalized… only smashed…”

  5. Ubs Reece Idwal

    Murray Alfredson,

    Your assessment is on target. The poem does read like a journalist’s report, which is what I am striving for in my docupoetry. As T. S. Eliot once wrote, verse should be supple, conversational, with the virtues of prose, though remaining unmistakbly verse. In addition, for me, poetry should be as tough as prose. I also take to heart Plato’s criticism of the poet’s propensity to stray from the truth, the factual; so, I have that in the back of my mind as well. Many New Millennialists try to achieve that plasticity in free verse or prose poetry; Milton used blank verse. My approach is different. I like rhyming couplets; for me, Chaucer’s joyful, jouncing couplets are exciting to read; I even like the crude poetic chant of the protesters. Yet like the German Romantics, e.g., Hölderlin and Goethe, I want my thought to shine through particular metre and rhyme. Perhaps of some interest to you, in my poetic journey, I have also drawn on the Australian bush balladeers, like Adam Lindsay Gordon, Henry Kendall, “Banjo” Patterson, Breaker Morant, and Dorothea Mackellar, for cadence and attitude.


    You are right; there is a twist at the end. You have caught the irony of the last word. Like Emily Dickinson, I like to leave a little jolt in the last word. Although the satire here is not as subtle, nor as brilliant, as Swift in Gulliver’s Travels, it is decidely there. And also I am playing around with political rhetoric here, if not as thoroughly as Shakespeare does in his Roman dramas, as for example, in repeated diction, and in phrases, like the ones you pointed out, “only vandalized…only smashed.” You have neatly captured the poem’s thematic tone in your remarkable phrase, regarding the march, “give it an air of undeserved legitimacy.”

    As an aside, alliteratively, I was interested in the conflation of bilabial plosive p’s and labiodental fricative f’s in this particular poem’s rather overt, forceful phrasing.

    Michael Dashiell,

    Huh? This is obviously a case of mistaken identity. I had not even heard of Noblesville, Indiana? until today. As for your enthusiasm of Byron, I share it. The energetic power of Byron’s epic satire Don Juan is a tour de force. His ridiculous multisyllabic rhymes have informed much of my poetic craft, if not in this poem; and the acrobatic effects he achieves throughout his poem are extraordinary.

  6. Tod

    Vox Populi

    By Tod Benjamin (of the United Kingdom)

    The people have spoken: thus spake President Trump.
    The voiceless majority’s expressed its unrest,
    Vox populi vincit: enough of status quo.
    The system is trumped: Obama’s laws defunct.

    What cataclysm caused this cloudburst of voting shocks?
    Middle America, treasured rock, has vomited
    Volcanic frustration. Silent too long, it screamed
    With selfish greed for the comforts of yesteryear.

    The complacent elite believed themselves safe,
    Quite sure of their loyal battalions: that great mass
    Of solid blue democratic republicans,
    Whose votes would ever keep them in the same old rut.

    Instead we find the impossible dream is alive.
    Mister rich man does whatever takes his fancy
    To make America great again, with doors closed
    To Mexicans and others who misread freedom.


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