When I called your irreverence
For the sake of shame,
You asked my why
And said that a man must have
His wise words untainted, unquestioned
Like a god’s.
With every order
You spoke yourself
Unto things like power.
Your disposition carefully woven
Into strands of self-assurance
Your words so loudly proclaimed
From the top of mountains
That a man must have, always.
Like a biblical, sacred text
That named you as prophet
Nuanced to the sound of your voice
In perfect synchronicity.
With a rage you dispelled vitriol
Over offhand jibes and remarks.
You wagered fists against faces
Missiles against races
For saying things that esteemed you
Less than fame and fortune.
You uplifted vanity, like a shroud
On cherubic wings that whistled, lyre-like
With every fanciful mention of you
And fondness for your achievements
No matter how infinitesimal.
You said no other was destined
To match your esteem
To reach your virtue.
And that their inventions of mind and body
Were but molehills compared to your mountains.
You stood on shoulders,
And said the bones were merely earth at your heels.
You said exhaustion was only a trifle
And toil a means
To contend yourself with the heavens
And to fly, for eons
Of eternities written in stars to your excellence.
That forsook Octavian
And all the Caesars
In exchange for you.
When the gods turned their glimpses
From Einstein and Aristotle
Abandoned Kublai Khan
For your flawless Xanadu.
You were prized to win their honor
Because a man must simply have.
Lost in an opiate sea of somnolence
Dead to the words of others.
Their wants and wishes
Answered silent over the cry
Of your dreamer’s condescension
That spoke through slumbers
With nary a doubt attached.
The toll of your mismanagement
Brought an end to empires.
And still you proclaimed
That a man must have
Where your greatest judgment erred,
You said that only time would tell
And blamed the stars as faults
For your incompetence
You said that courage was the conscience of kings
And prudence the vice of fools.
You sought counsel, mirror-deep
Ignoring all others.
Drowning those around you
With a sea of impunity,
Waves of impotent strength
Tethered like wings of assurance.
Imagine legends lost by vanity
By the crime of conscience
Imagine kings un-throned
And princes put to torch.
Imagine perfection stripped away
Like onion layers
One by one.
And you diminished
Like an atom under lens.
Like a single-celled prokaryote
Once godly, now swimming small
But still proclaiming in whispers
That a man must have.
Flexing your membrane in all directions,
Like a starlet expanding, encompassing
Then imploding by the same force
Sinking to sizes invisible,
The very remnants of legends undone
To the ruin of reputation
And the trials of time.
When ashes remained
Of the monument
Mounted to Caesars
In your image
You merely stood on the rubble
And pledged a second likeness
Greater than the first
When your city fell into wars and ruin
You promised to build Constantinople
When you lost to the Allies
After trenches buried in blood
You promised retribution
In the name of nation
And forged an empire
That like the Romes and Macedonias
Fell to its own ambition
When you saw farmers on jungle soil
Raising red for Charlie’s cause
You invoked the name of kin and country
And like a demon rained fire
From sunlit skies
Sprinkling napalm like zyklon-b.
When the Eastern bloc
Spurned your overrule
You enforced it through expulsion.
Made Siberian dungeons
The refuge of opposition.
When you ruled, you were chanced for destruction
By the same power
That forged you
And carried your cause.
Your vigor sufficed
By unchecked vanity
And so it crumbled, right before you
And still in the ashes you said
That a man must have.