Poem by Joseph Fletcher

The Cranial Empire 

by Joseph Fletcher



There they’re (I coo to myself)

Behind my eyelids are skylines,

in timeless silence

my scenturies first term structured streets shaped of the hearts beat.

I can see them, when I fold fleshy night over that fond world.

What art my child built!

Night ignites the stars above arches marbled as (now old) ideal cartoons

marvel at a vibrant history.

Glory in my Ancient Greece!

I challenge Athens with my childhood, it glistens

smooth and sleek.

In my early years, in their early years all was Greek.


But in later days I welcomed faces who’d creep,

unlock cellar doors,

secret ways sneaking,

weeping seeped in.

They invade on the soured air

settling in sinuses, straddling stallions upon light,

delight at the cities tainting.

A Byzantine state boiling,

cooling to a Constantine vision;

the gates were left all open.

I see smell taste sense the assault approaching

too late to turn the key, to turn them out.



They are here, arrived on my first kiss’ horse

years ago when I was simple,

not noticing the scimitars disguised as sensual soft embraces.

Not until they hit their hilts against the city walls, city halls

how my skull is grating, is breaking now!

How they hurl heavy handed blows down each avenue.

Shattering school windows,

Shaking carnival stalls ’till the prizes fall

now unwinnable.

‘Out, out Ottomans!’

‘Please, please Persians!’

They’re the new earth, unstoppable.

‘Unfortunately natural’ I howl to myself.



These new world marauders,

These new world blared orders

slaughter Saturday’s cartoons in the street.

Race to the centre; cerebral palaces of sentiment, of memory.

Deface their books, I look in disgrace as

they’re rebuilt, crude, gross parodies.

How could I greet dogmatic progression?

This Trojan deception

that took and took

Fair Helen and her chosen home before, behind my eyes.


My own Helen

who held my hand

who heard my howls

who helped me upward

for nearly twenty years.

I thought I kept you safe,

even when we went to war with one another.

When I practiced being Paris and

When I manifested Menelaus’

War over misunderstood

scenarios adolescence sanctified.

We’re over that

now I need you

now they’ve taken you.

One thought on “Poem by Joseph Fletcher

  1. One of the beast poems I’ve read in quite some time. It actually elicits thoughts and emotions for me. Paints a picture of an old man who grew up with all the nature, the animals and the friendly folks in the country feeling helpless, frustrated and sad that all the things he held dear and was familiar with were all gone and he’s now living in a soulless concrete box and missing the time and life that has passed him. A lovely piece to read

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