I started off scared, and I’m still scared. My husband is a physician. My sister is a nurse. I’m scared for their health and safety as well as that of other family and friends. I’m scared for my children as we continue to social distance and stay home. I’m scared for everyone dealing with the coronavirus and COVID-19.
But I’m also angry, angrier than I’ve been in a long time. I’m angry about the sheer ineptitude of and lack of guidance and support from our federal government. There are good people trying to do good work, and it seems almost daily, a higher-up has to step in and thwart that good work with their lies and ego.
I’ve been using our exercise bike, playing loads of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, sitting on our back deck when the weather is nice, and making homemade masks to cope with my anger. This morning, though, I awoke with a poem lodged squarely in my brain. An angry poem that I had to write down. Because it’s just one more way I can appropriately cope with gestures at the world.
Did I say it was an angry poem? You’ve been warned.
Also, Content Warnings for mentions of death, illness, and rapists. I do not mince words.
And Those Who Survived Will Remember
Copyright (c) by Amanda Cook, 2020
The despot king—
Who did not gain his throne
But through blustering from his podium
With his serpent’s tongue
Coiling venom into
The hearts of the desperate and oblivious,
His cries of “Her emails!”
And “The caravans are coming, full of rapists
And “I will make the kingdom great again!”
Echoing across the land—
This despot king
Smiled from his podium throne
As his loyal trolls,
In their stockpiled arsenals and basement lairs,
And his faithful heralds—
Those greedy to have his ear—
Scattered his vitriol across the land,
Shouting down those
Who would rebel against their hatred,
Those with the fewest rights
His trolls and his heralds,
With the despot king’s
Shouted, “You should shut up and
Let the king do his job.”
They spread the despot king’s pronouncements
Throughout the land,
That whosoever denounced the despot king
Deserved to be jailed
Their freedoms lost.
And pursuit of happiness
For thinking such ill will
Toward their “Great Leader.”
It came to pass
That a plague fell upon the land,
A silent plague
That snaked through the kingdom.
An invisible dragon,
Slipping its smoky breath
And into lungs,
Leaving the despot king’s people
The kingdom’s bravest healers
Rushed into battle
With too few weapons between them
To vanquish the mysterious,
And the kingdom’s mayors
And truth tellers
Rushed to the despot king for guidance
As his sycophantic advisers
Stood behind him
With their grim smiles.
And the people pleaded to him,
To stop the spread of the plague.
And, at first,
The despot king did
“It’s a hoax, perpetrated by those who despise me.”
When he could not ignore
Of the plague:
“It will be over in a month.”
When he could not ignore
The rising infection rate and
The mayors and the truth tellers confronted him
They asked the most trusted
Of the kingdom’s healers
His thoughts on
An unproven miracle cure,
Touted by the despot king himself.
The despot king leapt to his
Podium of lies once more
Before the healer
“He already answered that question, didn’t he?
Like fifteen times.”
And the most trusted of healers in the land
Was made silent.
And the mayors and truth tellers
And mocked by the despot king.
And the plague ravaged on
Until a suitable treatment was discovered.
When the healers
And knights had finished
Sacrificing their lives—
Those who survived
Left battle scarred
And the grave diggers
Had dug the last of
The trenches into which
Of the fallen
With no burial rites to speak of
And the people were left numb and shaking,
Starving from malnutrition
And the lack of empathy they so deserved,
The despot king,
From his palm tree lined palace
With his sycophants stood around him,
Looked down upon his
Ruin of a kingdom
And grinned to himself
“What a terrific job I did.
No one could have done a better job than
Thanks for reading.