“4 + 18 = 5,” “Posse Comitatus,” “The Rape and the Lock”

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

4 + 18 = 5

Gerald awakens to a shrill alarm

Gouging out his eardrums at 4:30 each morning

Rousing from a delicate slumber

He slinks into the bathroom to prepare his wan body for the day.

Rose arrives from work at 7:30 a.m. as she does six days every week

Like an invisible shroud of gossamer her soulless fragility moves

Without disrobing into a tiny room filled with a single bed,

Nobody is watching.  It’s OK.

Dexter joins his mutant fellow travelers into lives of traffic

That daily sneaks its way through small streets and tall buildings

Until he reaches a super human destination of scurrying ants

Who flag his 3-minute lateness on a central white board for all to see.

Olivia’s doze is shocked upright against the mad road drilling outside

By men, usually, who leave their homes each day

To dig and burn roadways together so traffic flows to feed the beast

Of other people’s lives and lost consciousness unbound from living.

Meanwhile, Lamin toils in Banjul preparing his fourteen children

To don their lowly rags in preparation for their 16-hour long day

Begging amongst the withered other walking dead on their shrunken streets

While his elderly family members surround his edgy wife to know their daily chores.

In a world of eight billion fraught human beings

Incivility, indifference and what may be perceived as cruelty

Began living in our midst when Eve cajoled Adam to bite the apple.

And still, spacious single homes choke narrow passages,

Of mankind hurtling towards longing to live in four castles of dirt.

Posse Comitatus

Destined to destroy

The marvel created

From the dust of stars from afar

The toil and tireless penance

Muted ones must suffer

To attain the daylight

Won by many, many deaths

And flags and wags of yore

Who told us to prepare

For a world of truth

And freedom and liberty

With messages from heaven

To tart up the daily grind

By market research and tainted data

So others might speak

With forked tongues.

The Rape and the Lock

The slick of crimson

Slouched towards

Diplomatic exemption.

He looked askance

Mission accomplished.

Fulsome tides gathered

Vaginal blood suctioned,

Satiated, soiled

And sullied

Took refuge

Under the iron-clad Palmetto,

Until alas,

The hymen was ruptured

Evidence, no more.

How the rapid

Thrusting branch

Held by the slouching

Mud-splattered ghost

In a balaclava

Held, held, held –

Locked in hush.

Abandoned – in memoriam.


About the Author

Ailish NicPhaidin

Ailish was born in Ireland and emigrated to the U.S. in 1997 with her then 9-year old daughter, Alannah. She began writing poetry almost thirty years ago and the thought processes that imagine the tribulations and joys of humanity have given her many pauses to ponder life's leavings. She has had a number of poems published, has won one award and has been short-listed and long-listed in several major competitions.