ODOP: Indignation

This poem’s title is actually “Clay’s Song.” It’s part of a series I’m working on, where each poem is a different character’s outtake from my WIP novel.

The novel is speculative fiction, dealing with a government’s latest attempt to handle the problem of a supernatural affliction amongst its citizenry.

The latest government efforts aim to be very humane. Our friend Clay here is most definitely not the protagonist of the story, but, like the protagonist, he doesn’t really respond to the initiative with the gratitude that the powers that be expected.


Under the noonday sun
A chilly and halfhearted noonday sun
They herded us, on top of cigarettes and wrappers
(One woman with those hiccupping sobs that grate so)
To face the dutiful soldiers and their guns
Their timid doubtful faces behind their guns
And I—was—MAD!
Make it a man of stature, chest awash in medals
Dress him in red and gold—then you may let him shoot me,
Provided the gun of the handle is pearl,
And it’s done in the cricket-silent night.

Oh, it’s not that in
The prime of my youth
They got me on a death bus
Packed us to the country, a one way trip—
Oh, it was a one-way trip they sent us back—
Now we’re closer my complaint: They sent—us—BACK!
Who the hell do they think they are? To steal
All our hope of life, and then to send—us—BACK!
And the decision made at a conference table!
Where well-meant men in last year’s suits,
None enlivened by a flicker of evil,
None twirling his moustache in the shadows,
Judiciously weighed the less and more wrong
Before the reversed order was given
Each glanced to the left and the right,
Made sure he was safe in all eyes—
They made the call, they disassembled,
Each went his own way, each went home,
And gave his boring wife a routine kiss.

Now what? The years go by,
They went on with their silencers
(But me never silenced,
Always laughing the louder),
And now, these days, they close in,
Longing to lock us down
Beginning to lock us in
But not in prison or dungeon,
Not with the proper damp atmosphere
Not with rats and out-of-reach water
Dangling keychains, and seducible cross-dressed guards—
No—we’re not—worth—THAT!
No, they close us away
In centers, and wards, all secure, all hospitalized,
And the nurses aren’t underpaid,
And the guards have background checks,
And everyone’s very competent
Very professional
And impartial.

Such attempted oppression,
Such negligent cruelty,
And all those dead under it…
Beware, citizens,
That inevitable evening
When I march down your street
With hundreds at my back
With a thousand up in arms
Shouting the hotfelt rebel cry:
“That—was—LAME!”

Copyright 2010 Jobey George. Comments welcome.

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