GIMLET-EYED BUT SO FLAWED

when the pen becomes the sepulchre of
the ink, keeping it still like our tongues
that stay blunt, in hiding, behind our sharp
teeth; we become executioners’ eyeballs,
donning mantles of pain, & rosy duress.
our glee reaches for the stars when the
cold blankets of darkness hide us from kith
& kin whilst we estrange cowardice; we
are hapless & defenceless, but humane.
our focus on the guillotine is only a coin
of kowtow to our landlord, not panegyrics
to the Dutch courage his deft hands exude.
our appearance from behind
his balaclava is sworn servitude.
if and only if we were born noble freemen,
we will be no docile knights in shiny armor,
we’ll call no shots for his arms, or lead them
to battles for which we loathe scars or medals.
show us a merchant who wants our armor
for hemlock; let our lord find twin stewards
in canes, & tablets festooned with braille.
because until you do, we’re poor seneschals
bound by peremptory nerves, to do his hurting bid.
until you do, we remain his eyeballs; stony eyes
of the storm, leading the hurricane to his zest.
until you do, we live to be killed a thousand times
by our conscience, unlike his victims who die from
his brutal blows; & like his victims who live a life of
misery greater than one lived in an executioners’ eye-sockets
but we will not wait for the kingdom to come
before we rise from the ashes of our shackles,
to the zest of keeping brothers.
we rise, like a phoenix riding the winds of
precarity to his offsprings’ aid.
We may fall, but failure will never find us
because we are cats with nine lives, & pesky rats
never find peace behind doors that hide brave cats.
©Mazeed Mukhtar Oyeleye

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