Volume 23, Number 3


The rebel leader, the self-proclaimed
Field Marshall, dresses himself like
a five-star general in a far-off place.
His warring troops are not revolutionaries
or guerillas, but "Freedom Fighters."
Between the capitol’s tallest ivory
columns, the Emperor, as infidel (it’s
a coup d’état), is beheaded. The palace
is looted, coat-of-arms desecrated. There’s
pillaging and bloodsport in the streets.
The New Republic must be cleansed
of all evil, plotters, impostors. You must
pay for the sins of your ancestors. Or
elders. Or party. Your life expectancy
is not days, but hours. Soon no doves
will fly. If you’re alive, you try to outrun
speeding bullets. Ghosts of cadavers
dash without eyelids. Severed hands,
feet, catch you. If you’re a woman
we don’t have to tell you what’s next.
For the tiniest children, it’s the cruelest
season. It all goes down like a game
of Monopoly, but nobody goes to jail.
In the meantime, over the radios & TV,
non-stop proclamations and decrees
color every face, dare the blue skies.
You will die if we say so. I am the
Field Marshall, sent to deliver you.

—Isaac Black