The Great Man

-dedicated to a dictator

By Jeff Friedman

The great man bullies fleeces from sheep, carrots from the mouths of jackrabbits, gardens from gods—bullies stalks into submission. He bullies the necklaces from graceful necks, the wings from swans, the fancy shoes from fancy feet. He bullies flies from spiders, He bullies the birds from the bush; he bullies the bush until he splits the roots. He bullies figs, petals wilting at his touch. His tongue never rests touching his lips, the tip of his nose, licking the velvet pockets, dulcet wounds, salty cups, Velasquezed veejays.

The great man rules with a firm hand, showing off his rings, glinting emeralds, ruby reds. He rules with a hoarse laugh, promises to slay the harried kings, the loose sheiks, the brazen bulls who question his authority with their bloody horns. He rules with his own book of prejudice, renames poverty prosperity, swaggering down the aisles, flowers falling at his feet.

The great man showers everyone with his bliss. He parts the rock. He crosses out the sea. He sticks it to his believers causing them to squeal. The great man banishes his band of bandits, punishes the pundits who warn him of disgrace. He hectors the crumpled bodies, rants like an exotic bird in the wrong paradise, like fire burning up the dry brush, smoke embracing the ruins.