(after Shelley’s “England in 1819”)

A demagogic moron mad with power;
his brood snapping their tongues at golden flies
with reptile grins of brazed entitlement;
the people’s servants rioting in rooms
reserved for dire and solemn undertakings,
crazed to thwart the law’s unerring hand;
children orphaned at the gates of hope,
lives heedlessly and gleefully destroyed;
trusted, trusting comrades in trust betrayed,
left to the mercy of their foes and ours;
blind Justice crawling on her hands and knees
searching for the scales some shyster stole—
are dung from which a mutant flower might grow,
of shapes and colors hitherto unknown.

Image credit:roya ann miller

Wim Coleman is a playwright, poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer. His poetry has been published in The Opiate, Dissenting Voice, Tuck Magazine, Vita Brevis, The Esthetic Apostle, Dream Noir, Visitant, The Thieving Magpie, Levee Magazine, and other publications. His book of poetry I.O.U. was published by Adelaide Books in 2020. His play The Shackles of Liberty was the winner of the 2016 Southern Playwrights Competition. His most recent play is The Mad Scene, which has been described a "an Our Town about the French Reign of Terror." Novels that he has co-authored with his wife, Pat Perrin, include Anna’s World, the Silver Medalist in the 2008 Moonbeam Awards, and The Jamais Vu Papers, a 2011 finalist for the Eric Hoffer/Montaigne Medal. Wim and Pat lived for fourteen years in Mexico, where they adopted their daughter, Monserrat, and created and administered a scholarship program for at-risk students. Wim and Pat now live in Carrboro, North Carolina. They are members of PEN International. Blog: playsonideas.com.