Demagogue by John Toivonen
The street reeks of the aftermath
of alcohol and spilled trash. The retching
and the urine collect to bring
a hit on the nose so one breathes through the mouth.
Last night was the fete for another voice
that ran around for votes and made a promise
housing would be free, but then gave Judas kiss
too silently to be heard over the noise.
The crowd wears jeans and ragged red t-shirts,
many are unshaven and stink of cheap liquor.
$6 gin and the vendetta’s fire
provide a make believe lift of the curse
that robbed good jobs for the Chinese men.
Now the leader denounces hated words,
and “globalism” joins “Satan”, and “Judas”
as a mortal economic sin.
There is no one in the crowd of cheap gin
who seems to know that the match is fixed.
Free food, free homes in manifestos rigid
beguile distant slaves to feel they are kin.
© 2016 John Toivonen
John has published poetry and essays in numerous publications, including Roanoke Review, Midwest Poetry Review, Paterson Literary Review, Blognostics, and The Washington Times. His most recent book of poetry, Song After a Long Campaign, was published by Great Roots Press in 2015.