Dead things reign in this kingdom divided,
its real name remembered and whispered by few;
the children of those who stood strong, defiant,
died for a country, a cause misconstrued,
a past without purpose, a land unattended,
gathered in apathy by the ragged milieu.
Cold steel bites through threadbare denim,
scraping scuffed leather on flaking stone,
as the sun broods behind a jagged horizon,
painting stretched shadows on asphalt and chrome.
Broken, starved creatures strain at their shackles,
with wills diminished and causes disowned.
The disjointed lips of a hungry waste bin;
an eddy in the breeze, a festering groan,
a plaintive lament in nebulous delusion;
stashed secrets defiled, their sorrows bemoaned.
An ungodly shrine drinks dour dissolution
of beasts seeking sustenance and dying alone.
With impassioned judgement he heads down the alley,
the cobbled stones hiding their faces in shame
behind broken bottles and puddles of urine,
mouldering nappies and prams set aflame
by myriad nameless through neon nights squandered.
Flotsam drools, doleful, with no one to blame.
A silhouette of hoodies, haloed in amber;
a premature street light in the fading of day.
Huddled like primates, or beady-eyed magpies,
they step out to meet him, blocking his way.
A challenging question from spurious comrades,
he regards them serenely; a decision is made.
Hands stuffed in pockets, he caresses a roll-up
pocketed deep, and furled in repose;
a crumpled, white chess piece awaiting his next move,
while greedy glints twinkle like binary stars
from deep within mantles of pseudo-machismo;
bristling cowls; a coward’s attire.
In his fist a scratched Zippo, a bygone life’s relic,
spike-collared bulldog in bas relief
within outline that traces a lost nation’s shorelines,
a flag’s colours neutered by bronze-etched motif.
Thumb rotates wheel, sparks hiss, flame dances,
smoke drifts, enticing, beneath sunken veils.
The obligatory war dance of misguided misanthropes,
heads pecking forward like puffed parakeets
who assimilate early or learn lessons too late,
shoulders squared, chests out, black gazes agleam.
Because life’s a tough gig, and the road to manhood
is a gauntlet run of defeated dreams.
Like a fencer’s foil, the stub is brandished,
as a teacher showing cane to an unruly child.
The wolf’s eyes widen, held fast in the headlights,
gravel grinds under sneakers as the hunter recoils.
The fangs of the trapped snake trace lines to its target
in a crimson flourish; a Gothic groom down the aisle.
His veiled bride dances, pirouettes gracefully;
an oil-smeared portrait of moon-struck denial,
singing a stream of garbled invective,
a mewling of curses spat in revile.
A de-stringed mannequin collapsed under gravity,
vomiting spumes of illiterate bile.
A flutter of fabric eclipsed in the safety
of lamp-lit graffiti, round a corner, and gone.
Their plan turned to shambles by a resolute stranger,
but caution dissolves come the cold light of dawn.
Running footsteps diminish to a casual wander;
potential snagged firmly on folly’s barbed thorn.
Screams fracture the airwaves like fires in a nightscape.
Glass shatters, horns blare through this wayward abyss.
No respectable sorts round here in yesterday’s wasteland,
just crawling abortions allowed to exist.
At his feet lies a beetle, prostrate in a puddle;
one from the millions that will never be missed.
It’s an age of enlightenment in a broken land fallen,
its brilliance darkened by intolerance and greed.
Wounds fester in corners of craters and rooftops,
a mechanised jungle where ignorance breeds.
A crusade of hatred led by ragged, blind princes,
while praying princesses wait on bloodied knees.
The beckoning maw of the synthetic witness,
implies a sly covenant from jaws held agape.
He considers the tableau, the quieted arena
as the spectator’s promise yawns solemnly in wait.
A scarlet sky deepens, trailing clouds caress ivory
in demure, silken beauty; a shining world reached too late.
While dead vermin ripen, hidden amongst refuse,
awaiting collection, to be crushed and compressed,
he leaves this bleak alley, a damned nation’s playground,
contemplating his future at history’s behest.
Gone to Hell in a hoodie, Angerland darkens.
It’s a raped pasture begging to be finally at rest.
© 2015 Scott Kaelen
Featured in DeadVerse: Poetry Volume One