I'm back at my gym now, running my daily seven mile
     around the second floor circuit. 10 laps a mile
     and the only thing to look at are the walls of the hallway
     and whoever has just passed me. The only way
     it's tolerable is with recorded books on my iPod,

but I don't know how to get the damn thing off random.
     I'm listening to a book about the luminaries of the American
     Revolution, but it's scattered about, and Paine, Franklin,
     Adams, Hamilton, and Jefferson are variously foolish kids
     or hot blooded or being shot or creeping into senility.

Only Washington remains constant, reflecting our love
     for the man. It's a sin in America to point
     out his failings, so in the book he has none.
     he rest of them are coming to me as human
     beings though, one moment resolved,

the next confused, both overjoyed and defeated
     and always struggling. It is not doing much
     for a chronological understanding of the era,
     but I think this is the most accurate
     description of humanity that I've ever read.

John Brantingham

About the poet: John Brantingham's collection East of Los Angeles was published by Anaphora Press and his first short story collection, Let Us All Pray Now to Our Own Strange Gods, is forthcoming from World Parade Books. He has had hundreds of poems and stories published in magazines in America and England such as Tears in the Fence, The Interpreter's House, Pearl, Confrontation, and The Journal. He is one of two fiction editors a The Chiron Review and the fiction editor for the newly formed Spout Hill Press. He was recently featured on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac and he has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes.