“You wouldn’t abandon ship in a storm
just because you couldn’t control the winds.”
— Thomas More, Utopia.
Last call for the patriots,
last stop for all apostates;
the last train to freedom is
now boarding from Abaddon.
Every time it rains
the fixtures blinker out;
no coincidence, this:
the governance installed the sky.
There’s rows of voices
over all the houses;
advances in bipartisanation
amplifies people’s dependence.
No, this isn’t really hell,
they got it wrong, it’s overdone;
hell is a better composition,
its design is still untried.
If you read the manifestos,
it’s evident life’s counterfeit;
unknown ideals speak truth to practice,
panacea, comrade, can be obtained.
Now, this “perdition” is a travesty,
it’s ersatz, faux and fraudulent;
real hell’s supposed to purify,
not profit small-time bureaucrats.
They got their knobs, test-tubes and dials,
vast screens to engineer nightmares;
these are cheap tricks, mere brummagem,
effects lacking organic woe.
I want a hell that’s fair and square,
where punishment’s unbigoted;
I have it here, inerrable,
in documents, with principles.
If people would just cogitate
and sublimate their fallacies,
then they’d see this nether world
an apotheosis to behold!
Last call for provocateurs,
last stop for all demagogues;
the last train crash to eidolon
is boarding now from Abaddon.
“These are the waning days
of aristocratic socialism,”
she lamented with a shrug.
“We heard the speeches
as the ice cubes melted
and I fear our marching orders
won’t resemble plangent posters.”
’Twas then the scullery maids and
stable hands dismantled chandeliers.
“I’m inclined to agree, dialectic theory
has devolved into a grotesquery
of polity,” I assented with a survey
from my broken monocle.
“We all embraced the slogans,
shibboleths as well as anthems
but, in practice, I concede, the enemy is us.”
’Twas then the valets and chauffeurs
voted themselves out of existence.
“It’s curious to note, if not
a little indiscreet,
Lenin in the Kremlin
has domestics and a chef,”
she said with minor malice
and a misanthropic laugh.
“The fastest telegraph in this umbrageous
Soviet transmits from servants quarters
of the General Secretary.”
“Marat, too, had his housekeeper,”
I noted cynically, “and why would we expect
dictatorship without starched collars
for a bureaucratic caste
‘engineering social progress’?
Sooner the state withers away,” I chuckled,
“the better chances for shareholders.”
’Twas then the doorman and au pair
quit their posts, with ready rifles.
Anatomy of a Catastrophe
“These are barbaric days,” she said,
pointing to the effigies
and criminals in the stockades
whose crimes were but a lack of rent.
“Tight credit is the cause of this,”
I interjected sententiously,
observing all the foreclosures
which turned the commons into sludge.
I shuddered at investments lost.
“I, for one, blame the court
for lavish wars which made a sport
of brinkmanship over rare gems
not worth their weight in guts,”
she said, and not without embarrassment.
“Yes, it’s true, diplomacy
has been misused by bunglers
who curdled treasuries in vain,”
I did rejoin, most ruefully.
“The problem, as I see it,” she continued,
“is this culture of ineptitude,
rewarding hordes of savages
who disrespect propriety.”
“Ah,” I nodded fatalistically,
“here is where I disagree:
the issue of the state’s decline
owes to factors of finance;
morality is petty cash.”
“This is where sexes diverge,”
she added with a mild reproach;
“business aims the industry
of state conquests, I will concede,
but first and foremost, I aver,
psychology directs commerce
and dominance is revenue.
Patrician excess, nonetheless
has made a botch of chancery.”
And so we stood, near pillories
where internees moan for reprieve
as soot enveloped villages
once renowned for piety.
These are dark days, and the malaise
owes to the government the most
we did agree, while neither side of the
debate could quite admit, the evil was
by Craig Kurtz
Craig Kurtz resides at Twin Oaks Intentional Community where he writes poetry while simultaneously surviving the dream. Recent work has appeared in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Conclave: A Journal of Character, Danse Macabre, Drunk Monkeys, East Jasmine Review, The Kitchen Poet, The Literati Quarterly, Maudlin House, The Recusant, Teeth Dreams, Three and a Half Point 9, Tower Journal, Veil: Journal of Darker Musings and Zouch Magazine.