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By Alan King

after W.S Merwin

The president of pride's been overthrown
by a coup.
The president of humility shakes his head.
"If only he had listened," he says.
But it's too late. Pride's flag is burned
in front of government buildings.
The money marked with his face
has been tossed into a bonfire.
A pile of ashes collects
under Pride burned in effigy.
The president of sympathy
is nonexistent. It's a kingdom
in a mirage. Its citizens are dazed
by thirst. Hunger's as abundant
as air and trampled sand.
Hindsight's mistaken for the babbling
village idiot. He staggers through
the troubled kingdom and spots Pride
with its wrists and neck in the guillotine.
The wise man takes a swig from his flask,
shakes his skinny finger, and goes away
tsk tsking.

Added: Wednesday, July 2, 2014  /  Used with permission.
Alan King
Photo by Melanie Henderson.

Alan King is the author of DRIFT (Willow Books, 2012) and POINT BLANK (Silver Birch Press, 2016). He's a Caribbean American, whose parents emigrated from Trinidad and Tobago to the U.S. in the 1970s. Alan's also a husband, father, and communications professional who blogs about art and social issues at his website. A Cave Canem graduate fellow, he holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast Program at the University of Southern Maine. He’s a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and was nominated three times for a Best of the Net selection. He lives with his family in Bowie, Maryland.

Other poems by this author