Jeff Lacy

Refer Machiavelli

A circus is joyless without clowns,
dull without trapeze fliers, lions,
and high wire acts.

Ms P’s penned palm pricked
her to pluck: Energy. Tax Cuts.
Lift American Spirits.

Refer Machiavelli: it matters not
untrue content, it is
the battering ram making it true.

Drown ye sinner
in the tea of the lowest common
denominator -- democracy’s demon:
ignorance’s plague and protection.
Bicycles under Madison Avenue trees,
Reagan jelly beans,
stimulus money for teeth.
Our father, who art in,
who art,
give us our diversions – the
barren ways of men.

Dead trees give no shelter.
Wild flowers will not grow in winter.
A sail lists without breeze or bluster.
Balloon, without heat, will not rise.
Spinning plates will topple without tending.
Darkness emits no white, blue, or red.
When diplomatic husband
found no yellow Nigerian cake,
the White House Scootered Novak
to shed spy wife’s cover.

Ye P.T. Barnum constituents:
Saddam, Sad-dam, the very tyrant of tyrants,
your mushroom cloud missiles,
hid within your fertile crescent,
your sandy California hills.
Tenet said invasion would be
a basketball shot.
Cheney and Rummy,
Geneva rules of war redefined
by a brain tree of lawyers,
said we would be received
as great deliverers.
History, you disagreeable senator,
F yourself. For thee prudent archer,
that made all the difference.

Not like hollow men,
the Haliburton Tea Company
mighty Achilles Hummered north,
wearing ball cap turned round
tattoos unfurled, tingling
from studded-tongued lovers,
so that back home,
there is a free AK-47,
with the purchase
of a pick-up truck.

As in myth, Jr. jet upon the carrier,
strut, pilot costumed,
Il Duce, Texas Ranger.
Rove’s Bob Fosse’s
ensembled sailors,
the Admiral saluted.
Sweet charity,
from ship’s bridge,
the banner backdrop hung,
Divine man of distinction,
a real, big, spender,
bo-o-o-mb’s red glare.

When disciple John’s photograph was revealed,
General Powell, having seen
the sorrow of men,
and putting aside folly,
and rancor of council,
was on the very edge.

Saddam had it coming,
he had himself,
to blame.
Pulled out,
from his hiding hole.
He claimed illegal invasion,
no weapons
of mass destruction,
no jurisdiction,
to be charged or tried.
Trivialities, said the Red Queen,
there are other tortures,
sword-play, and madness,
we’d like to address,
to see you hanged.

Go tell Ms P
to bring the pill
that makes one small.
The Persian caterpillar
will pay a call. He’ll whisper
to keep your head, say nothing at all.

At Abu Ghraib, Black Knights
turned Hop-Frog into pornography.
Others renditioned and Gitmoed,
hooded and shackled
like strands of hooked fish,
nameless, countryless,
without being informed of charge,
without knowing possibility of hearing,
no probability of release in sight.
Vagaries of torture,
Hop-Frog flailed and yowled,
for Black Knight’s pleasure,
hinting truth, untruth, or taking suicide.

Drunks twelve-step
to sobriety or,
swilling lye of divisibility
sober naught.
Invasion, whatever the aim,
cannot be snorted up the nose.

From capitalistic home,
Agamemnon acclaimed
the book deal,
speech tour adoration,
Fox’s absolution.

Send in the acrobats,
the animal tamers, the clowns.
Load the man into the cannon.
Toe the high wire. Thrower,
select your knives. Toss the pins,
jugglers and exchange them
uncorrupted, seamlessly.
Dismantle the nets from
under the trapezers. Greater
the risk, more exquisite the pleasure.

Ms P, you’re awfully late.
Alberto G. has made
delightful tea and cakes.
After pledging allegiance,
Rummy is going to wrestle us
in top secret charades.
Don’t mind the dormouse.
He told that to what’s her name.
Your running mate and
that wife of his have come.
Set ‘em up, Fredo,
Let us have a merry time
drinking tea and eating cake.

I received a MFA from the University of Nebraska. My stories have appeared in such literary magazines as Storyglossia, Fiction Collective, Conte, Unheard Magazine, Mary Journal, Sex and Murder Magazine, The Wrong Tree Review, Full of Crow Quarterly, and Review Americana - A Literary Journal. Since 1991 I have worked as a public defender and prosecutor in the Atlanta area and on the Georgia coast.

(author retains copyright)