In service to the people, pressing my ear against the wall
I think I hear the poor scarabs trapped in amber celluloid.
This is after the uprising, but before the arrival
Of warships, and the wolf-like helicopters come
To gawp-gawp-gawp. In this room there are
Other rooms with walls made of yellow dust lit
By glowing screens. The doors are voices, all of them
Locked. In service to the people, lead reporters
Are sacking museums and on my orders they will escort
The mummified dead back to their network executives.
Only one throat can trumpet through these ancient gramophones.
Only my song can pierce the galvanized hummingbird’s skull.
In the street there is smoke, human forms, shapes of blue
Twisted metal, and police. What I say makes history
Obsolete. Like Herodotus on stilts I seek that white-haired
Raconteur who once swam with sharks and swallowed African
Hornets on a dare. Where is he now? Probably weeping in some
Sunset Strip hotel, his pinpoint oxford shirt spangled
With the blood of the silenced. In my absence, silence
Is my legion in service to the people.

This poem “Legion” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 214 (Autumn 2012): 128.

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