Rehab in Squirreltown

We made him famous, with our busy mouths,
this man who is more servant than bruised leader,
petrified, tangled in his own lines,
leaving the reporters cooling their heels.
As for me, my lips have been sealed, as if in service
to his fear, or some ancient civic deference.
My mouth goes dry hearing his triumphalist clichés;
invited to laugh like a child at his stale put-downs.
He has replaced himself with an empire of followers:
the morose, the sunny, the shy, the stalled.
I become, without agreement, his private doctor
treating this naked man, stuffed full of doubt,
reduced to the remnants of a public self,
timid and free, fragile and powerful.
We have become the henchmen to his emotions,
swinging daily from impotent anger to gleeful gloating.

Then, he was in fame’s sweet mosh pit;
and now he languishes, not knowing where to turn.
Notoriety gives him the kiss of life and we cringe.
Then, the city was glued to his side and he gushed;
now, I close my eyes, cold to the warm glow of the TV.
When I open them again, it’s the same old show:
celebrity coat-tails, Jesus moments, power-brokers.
We know he made provision for murder.
His trembling confusion is the mannerism of a squirrel
who renders the air with his pitiful cry.
What will he learn, caught in his own circle of fire,
when only the winter wind can keep him from falling.

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About Gesture Press

The poetry of Nicholas Power and his reviews of singular poems in a sequence titled Cadence.
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