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Friday, November 22, 2019


by Bruce Robinson

with apologies, and homage, to Sandra Boynton  

". . . as the question of how to re-create humanity becomes a live question." —Hans Keilson, 1944 Diary (Damion Searls, Translator)

". . . they mistook his lies for truth, and his hysteria for sincerity." —Vasily Grossman, Stalingrad (Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler, Translators)

One despot, enthralled by thrones,
calls two despots with his gilded phone,
Three despots, reigns insecure,
bring along another four;    
Five despots become distressed
when six despots decline to invest;
Seven despots who have gotten the sack
join eight despots and sneak in the back.
Nine despots have no need to work:
they do what despots do, they skulk for perks.

All through the despot night
despots pardon with great delight
and despot forty-five decides
to stop just shy of infanticide.  

Nine despots, it’s a beast,
join eight despots glancing east
while seven despots look to infest
at least six children quite distressed
and five despots then decamp
with four despots for summer camp.
Three despots go awry
alas, two despots don’t know why:
One despot, his throne uncertain,
dismisses the prior forty-four . . ..

Bruce Robinson appears or is forthcoming in Mobius, Pangyrus, Spectrum, Common Ground, The Maynard, and Connecticut Poetry Review.