Poetry

Former Czech Communist Boss

The concrete benches, heavy as
A Brezhnev frown, their backs turned on
Flower beds cut into his and chill
The kidneys, though he ordered them

For public places, where he now,
Habitué of parks and squares,
Must shift, as he’s learned history can,
His limbs, constantly searching for

Temporary comfort, and which,
Occasionally, briefly bring,
In a new contortion, the look
Of hammer and sickle to mind.

Or else he paces, biting hard
Upon the pain of his defeat,
As if breaking through teeth might ease
The wound, that does indeed give way,

At length, to a dull warming mood
Of self-pity, in which he views
As honourable the daily drudge
Of loneliness, as something that

At least will last! As for the rest,
Dialectical, godless skills
Always enable him to prove
That life’s as meaningless as his,

That there’s nothing to miss out on,
And thus consoled he’ll soundly sleep,
As every night, joyously in
Anticipation of the grave.

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