[Note: This is a one of a short series of essays which had originally been conceptualized as a “poem” at a time when I lacked a firm notion of what it was I really believed a “poem” to be. This piece is also interesting because I spent years not only writing it but furthermore I had spent a number of years wanting, in general, to write something about President Obama as such, or as a topic, as opposed to something very policy specific, which had been excruciatingly challenging for me. No doubt, if I compare exactly my approach to writing about a topic now to what my approach was when this essay was completed, in December of 2018, it would be somewhat different however not so much in sentiment or substance.]
January, 2016: I see President Barack Obama crying.
Small splotches of white salt under his dark brown, snowy night eye seem dabbed on there by a paint brush; of course, it’s just the light reflecting off his evaporating tears.
The photo was taken by Jim Watson for AFP/Getty Images when President Obama was giving a speech on gun control.
November, 2008: I was 22. It was my second time voting for president.
I voted for Barack Obama.
Just the past month my father had died because his colon exploded.
After he died, I thought I lived in some other universe.
The yellow, red, orange, and brown leaves falling from tree branches seemed to be all that could comfort me, reminding me of my father’s book of Van Gogh paintings that I inherited.
On occasion, when those trees shook, and threw their leaves in the air, especially when it rained, I thought maybe my father’s… ghost… was trying to tell me something.
November, 2012: In my naiveté, I betray my fellow Americans, voting against Obama and for Romney– my… Republican phase… failing to notice things like, say, the nature of my own poverty, and the poverty that surrounded me and my coworkers in the retail industry.
I failed to realize the exploitation.
I was a college dropout then, holding false assumptions.
Example: if people fail to “think and grow rich,” blame their skepticism, not their exploiters.
Less government, more optimism.
Mix errors like that with tornadoes of panic attacks… (extremely low… serotonin level…a doctor and I later hypothesized) almost deafening, blinding, throwing me all over the place, meddling with my thought process…
I returned to college, combating my anxiety with knowledge, learning to think and analyze more critically…as I reflected on President Obama over the years, I came to miss him.