Magazine | June 3, 2013, Issue

Poetry

YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED; YOU ARE WEIGHED AND FOUND WANTING; YOUR KINGDOM WILL BE DIVIDED AND SURRENDERED TO THE PERSIANS

It’s one year later, but the same old subway station

Stairs I step down — tread-worn, steep, and gritty.

One weight they’ve yet to bear: the fruits of renovation

Long-promised but forgotten by the city

(It would seem). They lead one down where walls

Are filmed with ageless grime and looking only slightly

Better written on than bathroom stalls.

Still, I have seen construction sites far more unsightly.

Nothing to read but bygone Outbounds ghosting through

The years, and faded taggers’ signature

Graffiti (what else can a subway Daniel do?).

Then . . . four block caps — or can my eyes be sure? –

Develop in the caked-on layers: S,

A, L, and R, beneath a finger pointing west,

Back where I came from. Now I have to guess:

This pentimento — or do I mean palimpsest? –

Apparent in the atmospheric fixative,

Emerges from the past to half-spell . . . what?

I stare till others stare, until the letters give:

Forming through oily paint, and scribbled smut

And stain, their four-square shapes predict the past:

Once, ESCALATOR stood forth, helpful, plain, and clear,

To guide us up and out. It did not last.

From moving stairs, to stairs, to what then, come the year

This station’s finished? What will be the public’s lot,

I wonder, staring. Will those thousands tramp

Their way to street-side straining up some ziggurat,

Or maybe just a dusty earthen ramp?

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

The Campaign Must Go On!

What many of us openly hypothesized immediately following the September 11 Benghazi terrorist attack is finally, after eight months of tooth-pulling, established fact: The Obama administration’s oft-repeated story that Islamophobia ...
Politics & Policy

The Difference It Will Make

The May 8 congressional testimony of three courageous State Department whistleblowers foreshadows a substantially longer, more detailed public investigation into the September 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks. It is clear even ...

Features

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Agent McConnell

Mitch McConnell had a problem. He needed to give President Obama, the man he had publicly vowed to make a one-term president, a nominee for the Legal Services Corporation. By ...
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The Odds in Afghanistan

Kabul – Will America’s decade-plus effort to bring stability and security to Afghanistan succeed? Crisscrossing the country at the invitation of U.S. commanders, as I have been doing regularly since 2008, ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Two Masters

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564) and Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) were contemporaries, though Michelangelo had a much longer life. Both are titans in the annals of Western art. But, as two enlightening exhibitions of ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

The Borg Below I was intrigued by Kevin D. Williamson’s “Borg Queen” (May 6). It reminded me of the contrast between the junior devil’s “Enemy” and his “Father Below” in Chapter ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Note to IRS auditors: Please skip page 14. And page 8. Actually, maybe just skip the whole issue . . . ‐ A Philadelphia jury convicted Kermit Gosnell of the ...
Athwart

Your Firstborn, Too

Second terms are the price a man pays for the hubris of thinking he deserves one. The Boston Herald, searching for a term to sum up the president’s merry May, chose ...
The Long View

Talking Points

CONFIDENTIAL — EYES ONLY Please review the following talking points and submit revisions, etc. NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 10! (Draft includes revisions from DepWar and DepState and WH.) Early in the morning on ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED; YOU ARE WEIGHED AND FOUND WANTING; YOUR KINGDOM WILL BE DIVIDED AND SURRENDERED TO THE PERSIANS It’s one year later, but the same old subway station Stairs I ...
Happy Warrior

Long-Run Silence

The other day, Niall Ferguson, a celebrity historian at Harvard, was at an “investors’ conference,” the kind of speaking gig he plays a lot of: You get a ton of ...

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Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

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Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More