Head of State

Alone is his pyjamas
After the sycophants
Are all in their beds
The dictator, silent
Examines his image
By moonlight
Wrinkles and lines
Cratered temples
And soft-joweled planes
Surrounded by wealth
In the marbled rooms
Of a haunted palace
He did not inherit
But strives to display
To best advantage
For diplomatic reasons
Dreaming of leaner,
Keener days
Before he became
A political prisoner
Trapped and tamed
By the violent success
Of his own actions

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Fabula rasa

This new life chafes at her
Like fresh skin, stretched
Taut over familiar tenderness
Of an old, raw wound
Nothing fits her now
Not time, nor place
As long-jawed expressions
Must face up to unflattery
And quit sliding into view
Over blank slate

Comparabolic Religion

Under the same Abrahamic rite
Why is it one tribe must shoulder blame
For all the ills our tongues in spite
May mutter, hiss, jibe, joke, proclaim

Can all those bearing guiding star
And shunned as less than fully hale
In truth be held as such they are
Accountable by any scale

From other creeds and careful groups
And once again, ill fated, mean
Cast out as ‘other’…  Story loops
Unfit to mingle, foul, unclean

How are we in point of fact
In any way so different
When we all, with lesser tact
Live and die with base intent

Dogma and self-interest
Returning fellows to their clay
Here with darkness in our breast
We’ll charge along this alleyway

Now ignorance and cruelty
False, Godless words have spat to shine
We in our turn may twist and see
Of those whose creed does not match mine

Our own ideals overturned
With harsh contempt, disowned, decried
And know ourselves as those who earned
The scaffold built when first we lied

And chose to follow to this end
The unrefined, archaic lore
Hanging decisions on the bend
Of what worked once some years before

To weigh as wanting one who had
An equal claim to all the Earth
As we ourselves who in our greed
Conspired to steal more than our worth

Deserted and abandoned youth

Choose certain death and ostracism
Exile self-imposed; ‘tradition’
Loss of home and family
Born of faith’s supremacy

So young, with minds not fully fed
In fear of first missteps, unled
Some seek to live by others’ rules
And hope to never have to choose

While those whose choice was thrust upon
Unwary shoulders, far too young
Have just enough experience
To recognise their own good sense

And knowing that some errors will
Occur despite intentions, still
Are less afraid to persevere
And build the life they want right here.

Though actions have their aftermath
There is no righteous, clear-cut path
Please do not fear all consequence
Change is not dangerous; though dense

And unenlightened elders may
Feel life no longer goes their way
As age and distance emphasise
The loss of youth before sad eyes

Unready to relinquish reins
To those in throes of growing pains.
Decisions to abandon trust
Give up hope and freedoms; lust

For life of lesser contemplation
Out of social obligation;
Turn to ends more violent
Ignore suggestions, kindly meant

And quick condemn all other views –
Is this the path you wish to choose?
Consider this, before you do
For truly, this choice rests with you:

Such suicide invites abuse
Of others that may follow blood
For love, for family, for feud
Will throw themselves away; – jihad

In mourning for those gone before
Their minds made waste, still immature
And more than one will idolise
The first to die – if death you prize

Above the life you hold in hand
So understand, if you have planned
To be the martyr for your tribe
And leave the others still alive

The minute you take up this course
Imagining rewards; Firdaws
You lose control of what is shown
And once you’ve gone, the whole thing’s blown:

With ashes scattered over sand
Your image will be used to brand
Misinformation into truth –
Deserted and abandoned youth.

Liberal Litterati

Seedy, lithe and well-oiled
In our uniform, non-conformity
Liberal minds squeak protests
From bedsit to ballroom
Decrying as fashion dictates.
Few trouble to research topics
Alien to a readership whose
Well-formed, lively sentences
So closely mimic their own.
We are all experienced here, we,
Residents of the four-walled glasshouse
What value the grass-roots witness?
When florid imagination lends itself
So well to high-def. verisimilitude
Without the constraints of
Post-traumatic stress
We rail again, against
The order of the world
Our words perpetuate
And tilt our glass
To toast the common man.

Duellist

To whom must I carry
This fight for my life?
May I choose the weapon
I wield in such bout?

Too much goes unchallenged
To forego the knife
It’s all souls be damned
If we don’t have it out

Or is it unwritten
More truistic lore
That what may have been
Is what yet must endure?

If such be the ruling
I fancy it time
The tables were tipped
To new flavour of crime

I’m deluged by duty
The dreadfullest foe
And Wednesday’s child
Has a head-ful of woe

A small enough wager
This minimal soul
All but shredded for bandages
Wholesomely foul

To gather her forces
Aye, therein the rub
With little to muster
And less up above

But battle she will
Nay, still stronger – she must
Ere the blood in her veins
Stains the dust dirty rust

So passionless sweethearts
Untruthful and grey
Be leached of my love
And stay hidden away

I’ve a need to reclaim
All the hours I lost
And hold views on the interest
Added to cost

Here’s a health to the vigorous
May she prepare
For all that her demons
Can throw at her there

It soon will be ended
Decided and done
And with luck of the draw
She may keep what is won

Inner Peace

Lie to me, I beg of you
Tell me pretty tales untrue
Undermine my eyes and ears
Petty crime to soothe my tears

Hide what truths I must not see
Lest their enchantment undo me
In Plato’s cave may I reside
Until I crave the world outside

A secular paradigm

Let me not feel more than may be borne
For others’ troubles, cares and strife.
I am too young to be thus forlorn,
Too old to hope; to love; to wife.

Give me but coin, my span on Earth
And lend me not another’s fear;
(I’ve precious little left of worth
Still less to broker bargains here).

I promise, but to do my best
And nothing more may take from me
Those greedy souls, whose “Fie!” on rest
Would wrest what time I, false, term ‘free’.

I cannot speak, but as I find
All else would be as empty air
What use, my hand, my heart, or mind
When weighed against such meaty fare?

And fair or foul as all may be
At moments suited to their mood
I can no more deceive than see
Through blackest darkness; I’ll be good.

Ashes

To be thus reduced
Is no mean feat
No, many years’
Self-deprecation
Secret fears
Of revelation
Led to this
Profound defeat

And potted ash
In plastic bag
Awaiting our
Collective presence
To distribute
Scattered presents
Under roots
And over slag

Are neither hopeful
Gay, nor gathered
Hold no mettle
Know no solace
Barely settle
Tears like Wallace
Falling, flowing
Dread and blathered

I’d imagined
Something grander
To an ending
Unexpected
Prideful partner
Resurrected
But I’ll keep to
Lesser candour

Do another
Solemn duty
Keeping counsel
As directed
Through mistrust
Just as expected
Shroud myself
In dignity

Tomorrow’s dawn
May bring us nearer
Through the shadows
Past the post
To knowledge of
What mattered most
The future comes
A little clearer