Poetry

February 1, 2019 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

BBC photo

 

By

Mark Kodama

 

 

 

Ralph Abernathy

 

 

I met you in the High Desert

In the twilight of your life

You spoke at the local college

About Civil Rights.

 

One time, rednecks used sticks

To beat your head,

Dragged you to the railroad tracks

And left you for dead.

 

I asked what Dr King would say today,

You said the same

As in his day.

“We are not doing enough.”

 

 

 

 

 

Donald Trump

 

 

Clumsy and rude, you have brought our political discourse to a new low,

Turning our White House into a cheap reality show.

Espousing white nationalism and racial purity,

Your demagoguery endangers our national security.

 

Your trade wars threaten to create world-wide depression

Your fights against the press threaten free expression.

Corrupt, vain and ignorant, you are nothing but a crook

Making decisions by intuition, you should read a book.

 

Kowtowing to Vladimir Putin like some stooge,

What kind of kompromat does the Kremlin have on you?

Slurping down diet cokes and stuffing your face with burgers

You refused to pay our government workers.

 

You insolently throw children in cages

And routinely commit other outrages.

Porn star and playboy model payoffs, you know no shame

What won’t you do for your own narcissistic fame?

 

 

 

 

 

Parliament of Birds

 

 

My name is Mayor Magnus Publius Maximus

From the Marvelous City of Tocqueville.

All politicians always say they are all things

To all people.  I am different:

I am all things to all people.

I supported the Resolution Authorizing

War passed by our representatives in Congress.

However, I oppose the President’s use of troops.

 

Send us your poor tired and hungry,

Just not too many of them.

I am against Terrorism

And for freedom in Palestine.

And for supporting our friends in Israel.

Government must offer better

Services for all of our citizens.

I am, of course, against raising taxes.

I am for what my people are for,

And against what they are against.

Use the arts of rhetoric

To advance your politics.

Take the truths of philosophy

Rhyme it; meter it, use parables,

And then you can say something unforgettable.

Use the words of the common man

In language that everyone can understand.

Say it with passion

And your words will have power

To move millions.

 

Following is my story,

Of the magnificent glory

And great passion

Of my profession.

My theme

Flows from a dream

Relax, hearken and hear:

About the birdman Monsieur Chanticleer

 

****

 

After birding I thought it best,

To go to bed and get some rest,

I grabbed a book to use,

And began to peruse,

Abe Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

 

I fell asleep and began to dream,

About the birds’ constitutional scheme,

When I opened my eyes

Much to my surprise

Mr. Lincoln at my side began to beam.

 

I set my book on the nightstand,

I turned off the lamp and

Changed my into clothes,

And then I arose.

For a mystic adventure appeared at hand.

 

He took my hand and led me into the wood,

I trusted him completely and he understood,

We came to two portals,

Afterlife’s doorways for mortals.

One was for the evil and the other for good.

 

Honest Abe smiled wryly without word.

Led me through the portal with the song bird.

What a magnificent arbor,

The forest floor was carpeted with flower.

And its vaulted ceiling made of leaf and wood.

 

The Congress of Birds convened on the hour

Within the Great State House Bower

To debate on the floor

Whether peace or war

In their beaks rested the power.

 

Congress was divided into upper and lower houses,

The two parties’ mascots were the cat and mouse,

The aged senators conversed at the door.

House Members’ had the floor.

While party leaders prepared their verbal jousts.

 

Suddenly the Eagle entered the chamber,

All the legislators rose, each and every member.

They all were silent,

And paid their respect.

To the President, their leader.

 

“We have gathered on this solemn occasion

To decide whether to lead an invasion,

Against our sworn enemies,

The African bees.

Who threaten our very civilization.

 

“They have stung our children and spread disease,

Attacked our weakest members, our elderly,

They only tell lies,

Encroach upon our skies.

Our coexistence simply cannot be.

 

“Word is they plan imminent attack,

Let’s beat them to the punch alack.

They disrespect bird life.

Their strange ways cause strife.

Kill them before we must beat them back.

 

“Timorous policies of appeasement

Only serve to provide encouragement

To dictators and tyrants,

And their miscreants,

For their own encroachments.

 

“Please have the wherewithal and constitution,

To pass a parliamentary resolution,

Authorize use force,

If I deem it the best course,

I promise a successful conclusion.

 

“To the loyal opposition.  Lend us your hand.

A House divided against itself cannot stand.

Against this determined enemy,

We need unity.

Together we must band.

 

“Let’s hear my cabinet starting with the Hawk.

“With our plan to shock and awe, why waste talk?,”

began the Hawk.  “We will destroy the bees,

And bring them to their knees.

Unleash the war hawks and gamecocks.”

 

The Owl said: “Strangle their economy with inflation.”

“Kill leaders and destroy their communications.

Smash their air power on the ground.

Eliminate their planes with lethal rounds.

Strike targets with smart munitions.

 

The Hawk said: “We cannot wait for a peace.

Our armed forces are place.

The cost would be too high.

Our war birds must fly.

Before the bees arm their base.

 

“Please also remember the Queen Bee is bad.

She harms her subjects.  Isn’t she sad?

A malevolent fascist bee.

Kills those who disagree.

The death of her enemies makes her glad.

 

“We are compassionate conservatives,

At church we generously give,

We can spread our democracy,

While killing with humanity.

Many innocents will live.”

 

The Parrot said: “And look at our photos,

The aerial shots obviously show,

Weapons of mass destruction,

Under war production.

Please give us the go.”

 

The chicken was the first to speak.

As he nervously twitched his beak,

“I am afraid of being attacked.

Our cities being sacked,

Now is not a time to be weak.”

 

The Peacock, colored feathers on display, stated.

“The case for our freedom cannot be overrated.

I worry about constituents at home.

I must show my heart of stone.

Their lust for blood must be sated.”

 

The Pheasant then spoke.

She began to choke.

“We owe our leaders fealty,

Our troops loyalty.

Let’s go for broke.”

 

Though the Cardinal led the loyal opposition,

A try for unity was his position

The right decision was more important

Than demagogic rant.

Doing right was truly his mission.

 

“Whether bees are a threat is my question.

If yes, we will defeat them is my suggestion.

The bees are small.

If fought, they will easily fall.

We need not rush to war in this session.”

 

“What about breaking treaties?” he said.

“We are bound by the law instead.

If we fail in our obligation,

We undermine our civil civilization,

Respect for rule of law would be dead.

“Though the Queen bee is malevolent,

She is but a cruel tyrant,

We must still obtain world approval.

Before forcing her removal.

Use of force would set bad precedent.

 

“Might does not make right,

Being strong does not justify the fight.

Justice is not the interest of the stronger.

A scofflaw is but a warmonger.

We must be a force of light.

“Do also not forget our constitutional scheme,

Only Parliament can declare war it would seem.

Our sacred legislative institution,

Cannot override our duties by resolution,

In deciding to go to war we are supreme.

 

“In a civilized society, government is divided,

So power does not become too one-sided.

Power was dispersed between the three branches.

Each branch checked and balanced.

In our land, government is limited.”

 

The wise Raven also took the floor.

“I am not always opposed to war.

But this is not our fight.

To waste even one soldier is not right.

Without compelling reasons more.

 

“Let’s be careful with our longtime friends.

Rushing to war will offend,

The bear, dog and cat,

At our sides they have always sat.

Their help they always are willing to lend.

 

“And who stands to benefit heretofore,

By unleashing the birds of war,

The energy companies

And military industries.

Be careful, I implore.”

 

The Dove then said and stood.

“War can never come to good.

Who cares whose right or wrong,

Even the victory song,

Is purchased with blood.”

 

I suddenly awoke from my dream,

I saw rising steam from the nearby stream

Yet I wondered how it all concluded.

Whether war was eluded.

It was all a fantasy it did seem.

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Kodama

Mark Kodama is a trial attorney and former newspaper reporter. He is currently working on Las Vegas Tales, a work of philosophy, sugar coated in meters and rhymes and told though stories. He lives in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area with his wife and two sons.

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