Continued from previous Res Publica post…Remember my dream! That day I met
my isle. The fear, the noise, the threat
of something awful coming. Equipped
to fly away, my neighbours flipped
some switch atop their spine, expanded
some wings, and each – a dragonfly
or wasp – ascended skyward, while I
alone remained, abandoned, stranded
in my ignorance – spinally
un-avian, land-locked, but finally
‘It all makes sense,’
I muttered. ‘My dream. Both past-
and future-inspired. The why and whence
of my seclusion. They’ll flip a switch.
They’ll motor away! Farewell at last!’
But just as fast, my hopes unstitched.
For oh, they could return. The hirsute
stooge was firm in his pursuit
(well-suited for my wife’s subordinate).
How had he learned of my coordinates?
My wife, it’s true, had pressed me for numbers.
And true some numbers I’d confessed
— which pegged my island falsely west.
But she is sly, and stealth becomes her.
Truth serums in my sleep? A tracking
device slipped in amongst my packing?
Dexter was reading: ‘Subterraneous
black holes, poison frogs, pink goo,
falling airplane wheels, spontaneous
human combustion, bowling ball,
time-travel mishap, killer cockatoo,
some scientific proof that all
of life is just a computer game…
But shipwreck…shipwreck… I see no claim
for shipwreck here in our — in your —
consent to limit force majeure.’
To which I sneered:
“What court applies?’
What laws? What currency? This pebble
here’ – I picked one up – ‘is treble
your dollar, and on the Forex buys
a thousand Yen.’
I flicked the tiny
bit of calcified, moon-shiny
grit. To my surprise, our ape
accountant leapt to where it landed,
picked it up, examined its shape.
‘These whelks in safe-deposit pools,’
I said, ‘are bonds, each Federally branded,
and worth a ton of finest jewels.’
My isle, dear girl, I must admit,
had never looked so richly lit.
So argentine, so sterling-tinted.
A coin she was! By moonlight-minted!
had cast the clouds in pewter plate.
The sea began to nictitate
where thinly ribboned light was strewn.
Impassioned breezes came and went,
massaging waves with lubricant;
and all the stars like captives marched
across the sky in perfect-held
formation. My throat had quickly parched
from so much speech so long restrained,
yet still I found a voice. I yelled:
‘What further cant’s contained
within that writ of yours! What terms?
What handshake does that sheet confirm?
For though, as king, I loathe beheadings,
my guillotines are great at shredding.’
Sayeed, however, had quickly guided
that epicene dwarf — that philistine
gynandromorph! — around a screen
of mangled metal which barely divided
his wooden sleeping plank from where
I moved my bowels each morning. And there
the two of them convened. They spoke
alone. Alone. The rancour of
that anchored boat, the gulp and choke
of sea-gagged rocks, the night air’s steady
rumble in my ear – above
this clank and splash, this plaintive eddy
of reckless wind and waves obstructed,
no words were heard, no sounds conducted.
And oh! How such a conference strains
the senses of an outcast’s brain.
Especially when said outcast
is Head of State! For what is ruder
than being snubbed by one’s intruders?
One’s total population massed
together in secret seminar!
What president, what King or Tzar
would sanction such conspiracy?
The minutes passed. The stars, the ones
that always huddled nearest me
— I mean Antares, Achenar,
Mimosa, Betelguese – those suns
were stifled by the moon. How far
away their fellows. Yet still they will
assemble, slowly gather ‘til
— some two weeks hence, their numbers grown
so large — the moon is overthrown.
More Tuesday Poems at Tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com.