There is a cruelty guy, not on the national level
like the jackals that the would-be emperor unleashes
but more personal and focussed. Robin Hood
and he were soulmates in another life.
His obsession is to destroy the Goebbels clones
who compete for the mad leader’s favour and for the power
to oppress and torture normal civil people.
He is a sort of god, or a wraith — a cloud of hate.
Last night I dreamt that I watched him at work.
He rounded up some of the would-be emperor’s aides
and stood them shackled in a moonlit square.
He asked them to repeal their cruel rules.
When they refused, he showed them personal hurt.
He pushed a titanium trocar through their shoulders.
He threaded poison wire through their red wounds.
He tied the wire off.
‘Perfect poison circles
like ruffs of office,’ he said.
They said, ‘Please
give us another chance.’
He said, ‘Too late.’
She is not Death himself, but she is Death’s favourite relative
and his friend. They visit in each other’s houses,
water-logged stoved-in arks beneath the Styx.
She carries not a scythe but a rod of iron.
She visits the people in power who do wrong.
She asks them to do the right thing and punctuates
her message with the breaking of small bones.
Yesterday she asked a policeman in a border county
to apologise for calling people names.
‘They are not people’ was his answer. It made her frown.
‘Fingers first, or collarbone?’ she inquired
and did both when he did not answer. Crack, pop, snap.
At the same time, because, like Death, she is everywhere,
she called on the Lord Vice President. ‘You are a vice lord
disguised as a sycophant Christian,’ she said and frowned.
He knew her frown’s reputation and he attempted
to cover up his small bones and his sins.
‘I will leave you breathing so you can repent,’
and go forth to thwart, not aid, your master’s ravings
and to work for restoring decency for all,’
she said and frowned and raised the rod. Crack. Snap.