you carve away your slabs of inconvenience with silver spoon,
handed to you in confidence that you might
earn your own pottage.
through flared nostrils, you billow and bluster.
a pall of disagreeable swagger
posing as fortitude – your aftershave.
middle-pack crow at best, your squawking tenor
makes ears bleed that otherwise wouldn’t bother.
but loudest means best when the bleating flock is
only a cover for the finish-line break away.
child-wound-daddy-talk, shoulder-chipped, posture-power
harumphing with front-seat view, proxy-driving
from the back-seat limo of puppet-kings,
where you learned your craft.
too big the metaphor
for too small a man
so big a tongue
for so small a deed
a borrowed empire built
on a ground of smoke and lies and bones of the poor
it makes bad wine from old grapes your gardeners never drink
carve away the dross enough to secure your shiny tale
but never let them see the fear you hide through shinier grin.
mirrors, over-polished, well-lit, world-weary, familiar,
you cannot look away – an honest pairing, your truest friend –
they always stay quiet when you gloat;
at least they wouldn’t deny your rightful place
among the great, the dress-for-success, self-made (apparently)
emperors of steely resolve and art of the deal.
the golf course cathedrals where gods of industry
find reprieve from the weight of their own misdeeds.
the art of misdirection, sleight of hand, deftly removes
what others need, replacing anything too easily overlooked
while we look the other way.
stuffing faces in your pockets, names under your lapel,
souls with dirty fingernails and hungry bellies
whose sweat fattened your wine cellar
whose tears fattened your belly while you robbed theirs.
whose unsightly color and ungodly language
builds your fortune
justifies your hatred
explains your anger
scratch and sort, smile and sign away the lives
of the lesser than
those too insignificant to see, but dangerous enough
to uncover your tiny horse-blinded life
dripping with Babylon pipe-dreams
Caesar’s gold pajamas –
Herod wiping out a generation for fear he’s not first –
the screams of mothers to drown his madness.
her glance was never a look in your direction
she had no choice given her job
she feared your hunger for pussy and the shamelessness
required to step lightly with a conscience that weighs nothing.
and for all that the world is still too small
the job’s in the bag
but the cat’s out of the bag
and your hand is overplayed
masks are wearing thin
time and truth tether themselves
drawing the rope across the chasm
between your rainbow of lust and a bog of emptiness
just in time to speak the one dark word
still hiding stubbornly in your closet –
(c)2017 by R. A. Rife
Robert Alan Rife, originally from Calgary, Canada is the music director am the music and worship minister at Yakima Covenant Church in Yakima, Washington, a singer-songwriter, liturgist, poet, and writer. He loves words – reading them, writing them, eating them. Mostly, living in them. He has two websites devoted to writing, innerwoven and robslitbits as well as writing for many others. He is a featured poet/writer/musician on ALTARWORK and has numerous published poems.