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Wide smiles of
crooked teeth
do little to warm the
cold slabs of the
floor
upon which my feet now tread
on my way to the podium.

The pride of an empire!
(captured in slapping echoes)

‘You have made us so proud, son,’ Chancellor croons –

(smile, inhale, repeat,
hand sweaty with the
grip of nine others)

‘All hail
the brave ones!
Seekers of evil
Destroyers of evil’

The pride of an empire –

‘Sons of the titans
Holders of Gaia’s fury
May the strength of Chronus
grant you passage to the
Abomination -’

crooked teeth dangle and click in
the mouth, lying

‘This evil has lasted
too long, my brothers -!’

put your mirror down, motherfucker.
The sky is not big enough
for two.

Close your mouth now and let me
hear the dusty voices of greater men
than you
whose words still creep shyly along
the vaulted ceiling, dignified and afraid, of the
notions born in
puss gargling in your mouth
until you spit.
And command us.

They know the stars,
they know who falls,
who rises,
and they know you.

[TAKEN FROM THE SERVICE JOURNAL OF PVT. JAMES HARROW, M.I.A.]

© Tom Preston, 2013

*****

Todays featured poem comes from Tom Preston. Told in the words of the fictional Pvt. James Harrow, this is a mysterious and symbolic poem in the vein of the great war poets of yesteryear. Drawing on a sense of ancient history and the power and futility of war, one can almost feel the accusing skeletal hand of Harrow pointing at us down the ages from a blasted-out shell hole in a nameless field in Europe. Masterfully constructed, this is a pleasure to read and think upon.

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