Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Month: March, 2015

Promise

The Promise

 

 

“The man who remembers this, I say, will be angry with no man, indignant with no man, revile no man, blame no man, hate no man, offend no man.”

–Epictetus

 

 

You promised, sage, that I would hate no man.
I seized upon that promise at the time.
Counselors help – but only when they can.
The time changed – and thus changed the paradigm.
Free of hate? As free verse is free of rhyme?
No longer did I seek such liberty.
It was a cliff I had no need to climb.
It was a vista I sought not to see.
I sought another way of being free.
I climbed the mountain that I knew as true.
I didn’t flee as one in doubt might flee.
I attacked with hard certainty in view.
And you have kept your promise once again:
The ones I hate are very far from men.

 

 

 

–Tom Riley

 

 

(First appeared in The Lyric, v. 95, N. 1, Winter 2015.)

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Rockin’

Rockin’

 

 

“Black girls rock!” says Michelle. Helps a ton
to hear that. Lots of harms are undone
by those words, rich and wise,
and the look in her eyes.
She should know — since she’s married to one.

 

 

–Tom Riley

In Judgment

In Judgment

 

 

Am I judging you harshly? Well, yes.
You’re a fool. You’re a clown. You’re a mess.
You’re a pig. You’re a cur.
In condemning you, sir,
I acknowledge no risk of excess.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Controversialist

The Controversialist

 

 

Yea, his vast compositional skill
he employs with a furious will!
But his whole scheme depends
on not coming to ends–
so he won’t zero in for the kill.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Trending

Trending

 

 

He is trending again — and ascending
in the numerous polls now attending
to his papal career.
Plus, it’s painfully clear
that he really is pleased to be trending.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Vincimus

Vincimus

 

 

Hey, we won! Let our joy be sincere!
Victory is a value held dear
in our small, simple hearts.
Let’s consult, though, our smarts:
what the prize is remains far from clear.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Honor and Distinction

Honor and Distinction

 

 

“With distinction and honor did Bowe
serve his country,” Frau Rice let us know.
Oh, believe me: I heard her.
Now we’ve got a deserter.
Where the hell did her fine soldier go?

 

 

–Tom Riley

Unladylike

Unladylike

 

 

Yes, Miss Smile: truth can truly compel.
Oh, yes: ladies I ought to treat well.
But your own case is shady.
I ask: are you a lady–
or a hideous harpy from Hell?

 

 

–Tom Riley

Deserter

Deserter

 

 

Loser went and abandoned his post.
If another guy gave up the ghost
because “Bowe” wasn’t there,
oh, well, why should he care?
That’s the soldier Obama loved most.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Smarter

Smarter

 

 

“The stupid arguments I meant to make
were smarter than the ones that you just heard.
I tell you solemnly. Make no mistake:
the stupid arguments I meant to make
would have convinced you. Thus, for mercy’s sake,
you ought to be convinced of the absurd.
The stupid arguments I meant to make
were smarter than the ones that you just heard.”

 

 

–Tom Riley