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
‘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.