Poetry | Louis xvi

Louis xvi

© 2017 Vernon Miles Kerr

There’s smugness in those

Who’ve attained absolute power,

Blindness to history,

A misplaced egomania:

“I’m so unique and great

I’ll be the first to avoid that fate.”


His wife said “No bread? Then call for cake,”

More in ignorance than disdain,

But still, she later viewed the torches

Through her leaded window pane.


The elastic can only stretch so far

Before it snaps back.

It’s a law of Nature more inviolable

Than that which propelled Newton’s apple.


We First-Worlders proclaim Democracy,

And some of us smugly laugh

At strutting white-sidewalled despots

Who hurl threats and pathetic junk

From behind the parapets

Of tiny, impotent kingdoms.


While we—oblivious—are strung

Like marionettes, to a devious despot

Far more to be feared

Than a Louis, an Adolph or a Jong-un,

Who has captured the Gates

Of Medicine, of Sustenance, of Fuel,

And even Governance,

And now exacts a toll when we pass through,


Which we gladly pay in gratitude

As our purchases assuage our certitude.

He’s a puppet master of our own making,

A Frankenstein’s Monster stitched from

Parts of a cadaverous economic order,

Yet walking, but streaming a gagging stench—

Presaging death—behind.



The elastic can only be stretched so far

Before it snaps back.


Louis was downed by a hungry ragged rabble,

Powered by the Grapevine,

But be encouraged:

Our monstrous ruler shall be

Hanged from a virtual yardarm

By a connected, savvy rabble

Powered by the Internet.

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