in Politics by


my friend said
let’s go to the shadow party
into the opaque

what is a party? we think of them as complex
we think of them as ecosystems

but shadow parties are stronger
nodes of influence
multiple points of entry
an avalanche of ads


somebody said
there’s lots of dark money
at shadow parties
billions of dollars
let’s go

I’ll admit, I was surprised.
the flow of dark money
through the pipes of the party
sounded like shells in a jar
like bees in a hive


I was at a dinner party
I am at a dinner party
a varied set of actors
or was it, is it, just one

at previous parties I was, I am, aware
of a varied set of actors
making bad jokes, they made bad jokes, then compromises


hoping for a costume party
but instead overshadowed

parties are not stable
parties are shape shifters

enchanted by the velvet rope,
then rudely ejected, knees scraped on stone

wasn’t I one of the party faithful?
didn’t I know the score?


sources untraceable
flowing through the system
dark money in the system
acting outside the structure

driving a truck of money
through a loophole

but hard to trace
dark money is the problem that you know
but where does the money flow?


does presence matter?
the party faithful hived off
living in the hollow in-between
swallowing endorsements, making phone calls, taking polls
paid for by X
a diagram, a shadow nest



IRS will not longer force Kochs and other groups to disclose donors [The New York Times]
Re-routing the flow of ‘dark money’ into political campaigns [The Washington Post]

Jena Osman’s books of poems include Corporate Relations, Public Figures, and The Network; her book Motion Studies is forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse. She teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Temple University.