Saturday, August 13, 2005

Idiot Kings on their Sullied Thrones


It's been a good five years since
things last made sense,

Five long turnings of the cosmic
glass since the last familiar
landmark along the roadside,

Five, counted upon the hand
in rust-stained digits,

Five, shaking the head back
and forth against things
that couldn't be true, but
manifest with every look
out every window, every
circuit and every invisible
communique flashing across
the ether.


It's been said that it's our
fate, and in the saying we
give the glue its synergistic
component, mixing the clear
and yellow epoxy together,
smearing it against the
tender skin we couldn't
cut away and get free.

Our fate, then, to remain
beholden to imbeciles,
to bow to idiot kings upon
their sullied thrones,

Our fate to suffer the
idiot rule and hope
listlessly for only the
return to mediocrity,
for we have had
excellence bred out
of us, stamped down
by nine ton presses
too long to even
recognize it,

For we are left to
idolize the hard bodies of
sportsmen and the quick
reflex upon the trigger
finger, all our heroes
of the past set against
the cold concrete and
hammered into powder,
their every flaw magnified
a thousand fold, their
secret frailties
laid bare, weighted
down with the freight
of humanity so that
they cannot fly
against the upper
reaches of the night
as they once did,

And we are deprived of
all our illusions, force fed
lies to take their place, and
not even the comforting
kind that can support
the building of satisfactory
fantasies, but only the
slow creeping senility
of a world out of time
and fabricating furiously,
building shoddy bridges
across ever deepening chasms
while at the same time trying
to walk across, empty gas
can in hand.


What is this broken alchemy,
this process of turning gold
into lead, dreams into smoke,
hope into hatred, friends into
cold and dispirited strangers
who won't nod in our direction
as they pass us on the rainy
causeway above roiling water?

What is this road we walk alone,
darkness crawling at the edges of
the overgrown forest, the sounds
of strange animals calling in the
gloom, the shine of their eyes as they
wait for us to tire, wait to feast on
our exhausted flesh when we
have succumbed to this sickness?

What years are these, after all,
past the good ending and into
the messy falling action segment
when all the dangers are present
but diffuse, too esoteric to grasp,
too distantly related to get us
up and out of the chair, so much
our own fault, the kicked dogs
of the past now running in
a pack just outside the garden

What useless lives, no embers
burning deep below the skin,
no honest purpose, no glimmer
of understanding in our dull
and glazing eyes in the mirror,
caught in the endlessly cycling
hangover state of the damned?

It's been a good five years since
things last made sense, and all
the questions asked are doomed
to have no answers, for the answer
books are burned for warmth,
the bandwidth taken for advertisements
and porn, the hard truth phased out
in favor of short, repeated phrases
echoed by a quorum of fools.


Braleigh said...

Am too exhausted for proper commenting. As always, extremely impressed with orgasmically brilliant writing. May very well try to steal your brain in order to produce equally brilliant prose.

Mushster said...

Amazing. You hit the nail on the head everytime Firehawk and put what are a lot of people's vague thoughts into crystal clear words.

Firehawk said...


Glad to see you back, but you'll have to rest up. Fun requires you to have energy. Again, you're welcome to hook a data cable of some sort to the back of my head and download whatever you'd like.


Your comment really means a lot to me. I think that's the highest ideal of writing: to take an unformed thought and express it clearly. I'm glad you appreciated my poem.

Stranger Ken said...

I've always thought that poets find the world difficult, like walking barefoot over broken glass! On the scale, this one seems to me to be somewhere between despondent and desperate. I know the feeling. However, Shelley said that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of mankind, in which case, your poems are doing their bit for the new order.

swiftboat said...

It has indeed been a good five years since things last made sense. We certainly have an “idiot king”. I'm always shaking my head in disbelief – loved that line.

This poem seems to decry out purposelessness while damning those who claim to have all the easy answers. An interesting combination of elements. We crave a sense of grand meaning. Reality usually falls quite short. Erik Hoffer postulated that it was this feeling of pointlessness that leads many to the feet of “idiot kings” and cults. Of course nationalism can easily take on the qualities of cult fervor.

Bumper sticker of the week: “Please Jesus, save me from your followers”

Firehawk said...


I wouldn't say I'm quite to despondency yet, but it's sometimes hard to keep your chin up when nothing seems to make sense in the world.

Let us hope that Shelley was right. The de facto lawmakers are certainly making a mess of things as we stand. We could, I think, use some input from people who see the world in terms other than monetary and political.


Erik Hoffer's writings have had a big effect on me. If I remember, the ideas you were speaking of came from "True Believer". It is true. Absent hope, without tools to fight against real difficulties, it's easy to succumb to fantasy fights that seem simpler and possibly within one's grasp.

Thanks to both of you for writing in. When people start bringing up heavies like Shelley and Hoffer, I feel like I might be doing something right.

Bill said...

I'm not going to bring up the 'heavies'... that's been said.

However, life has no easy answers, those who think there are, soon find out the truth. It seems we humans, at least in this country, have a thirst for 'easy' though... we tend to suck up every sort of 'promise of perfect' that comes along.

In your piece, there was a sense of frustration, even disillusionment that I certainly feel almost daily. Like nearly everything of yours I’ve read, there’s also a sense of hope, that in recognizing this, that there’s hope it can be changed.

Stranger Ken said...

Well, you know what they say, Firehawk: there may be no money in poetry, but there's definitely no poetry in money!

Firehawk said...


Again, I'm glad to have your opinion and your comments. I think we can only overcome our lesser instincts if we know where we've gone wrong in the past.

Yes, there is anger and disbelief here, but I try to always preserve a sliver of hope, a glow from a just-open doorway far up the path.


Indeed. No poetry in money. I'll have to remember that one.

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