Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

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Unrepentant

Unrepentant

Oh, no! Have I insulted “Mad Dog” Mattis?
I guess that I’m in real big trouble, right?
Syllables of contempt I offered gratis.
If he takes note, he’ll make me see the light.
A mad dog, you can bet, is full of fight.
The hydrophobic spittle on his chin
Is not, as I’ve suggested, from a night
Of oral work on organs thick and thin.
Instead, it indicates the strength to win
Against such silly satirists as me.
I must express repentance for the sin
Of anti-Jimmy-Mattis blasphemy.
However, to repent I lack the art:
More laughter now is rising in my heart.

–Tom Riley

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Model Rebel

A Model Rebel

To fashionable idols he kowtows,
Insisting he’s a model rebel still.
He goes for bestial sex with sacred cows.
To fashionable idols he kowtows.
Before their hierophants he boldly bows.
If toady looks could kill, then his would kill.
To fashionable idols he kowtows,
Insisting he’s a model rebel still.

–Tom Riley

Consolations

Consolations

The consolations, sir, of alcohol
I’ve been denied for five whole fucking days.
Similar suffering I can’t recall!
The consolations, sir, of alcohol
To me were not embarrassing at all—
But, lacking them, I wander in a maze.
The consolations, sir, of alcohol
I’ve been denied for five whole fucking days!

–Tom Riley

Whiskyhogmanay2010.jpg

Spin

Spin

Ask the pundits! Hey: they never lie!
Biden’s really one hell of a guy:
Competent – and admired.
He’s done all that’s required.
His low numbers are actually high.

–Tom Riley

True Dread

True Dread

If only Stonewall Jackson could have led
The insurrection at the Capitol!
Our congresscowards would have known true dread—
If only Stonewall Jackson could have led
Northern Virginia’s finest men ahead
Against Leviathan. Do I appall?
If only Stonewall Jackson could have led
The insurrection at the Capitol!

–Tom Riley

Reading Maketh a Full Man

Reading Maketh a Full Man

General Jimmy Mattis is a reader.
He’s read a lot of books, he’ll have you know.
In literary land a trick-or-treater,
He looks in pumpkin eyes and loves the glow.
The handsome passersby he opts to blow
Have not, of course, read half so much as he.
They wait in cold encampments, row on row.
They’re practicing their own philosophy.
How can a polymath of such depth be?
How can such Stoic virtue yet perdure?
Don’t be a jerk, Marine! Don’t balk! Don’t flee!
For what ails modern man, there’s just one cure:
Extensive reading while, serene and slow,
General Mattis gets to work below.

–Tom Riley

Gen. James Mattis arrives at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington

Into Safety

Into Safety

I’ve castled into safety, as you see.
Is my position solid? Ha! You bet!
Opposing men: no point pursuing me.

To step aside these pawns will not agree.
It’s futile here to weave a mating net.
I’ve castled into safety – as you see

With your own eyes. Sublime security
Is now my clear and blessed state. Well met,
Opposing men! No point pursuing me!

The checkmate you envision cannot be.
With your strong queen I’ll have no tête-à-tête.
I’ve castled into safety. As you see,

I’m practically celestial royalty.
I’ve made the right investments, and I’m set,
Opposing men. No point pursuing me.

The board must now submit on bended knee.
Resistance is the pathway to regret.
I’ve castled into safety – as you see,
Opposing men. No point pursuing me!

–Tom Riley

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Slipping

Slipping

Didn’t notice I
was slipping till the ground
fell completely away.

–Tom Riley

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Cryptic Truth

Cryptic Truth

“Deus laudem meam ne tacueris.”

Apollo would have spoken cryptic truth.
Omnipotence, however, holds its peace.
The Oracle was not a kissing booth.
Apollo would have spoken cryptic truth
In the thrice-wearied world’s untutored youth.
Now all such tortured revelations cease.
Apollo would have spoken cryptic truth.
Omnipotence, however, holds its peace.

–Tom Riley

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Cottage Industry

Cottage Industry

A thousand bogus
Stoics want to sell you
the Emperor’s diary.

–Tom Riley

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by [Donald J. Robertson]