John-Ward Leighton


Robert Johnson on the sound track;
been dead seventy years or so
he ain’t never coming back.
This poem is in trouble at its birth
I think the ink
is more than it’s worth.
There was something
inherently dirty about the nineteen thirties
even if it was my first four birthdays.
Those boys riding the rails
had more to worry about
than the dirt under their nails.
It was a time of rising racism and fascism
mush like today.
We thought we’d killed the beast
but it didn’t go away.
Today’s war criminals stride respected in our midst.
Was it the posturing and neat uniforms
that we missed?
Our leaders will protect us –
at least that’s what they say
but shit keeps happening anyway, every day.
They, like us, have no idea how it goes
and cannot predict what will happen
ten minutes from now one inch from their nose.
Sometimes they need to be reminded
that no matter how they wisely nod
that they are only human beings
and not the universal voice of God.
For all their flatulent flapdoddle
they are in reality, pretty limp wet noodles.
It’s not all that strange
in the light of all their lies
and bluster
as human beings
they cannot pass muster
and are really
small change.

©Copyright August 15, 2006 by John-Ward Leighton

Author’s Note: Thoughts on the end of the Second World War and the rebirth of fascism