The night the house of love burnt
down. The night the eminent shrink
informed us: Sometimes, a cigar is
just a cigar, but his erection more than
obvious, the Bluestockings in hushed
awe, some of them quietly reaching for
their tissues. “What do women want?”
the world-renowned psycho-analyst asks
as he fumbles for his matches on the dais,
an elderly matron first crossing and then
uncrossing her legs. A poem in which alarm
bells are going off all over town, firemen
throwing their trousers on, fire engines
entering the first of the long dark tunnels.
It’s nights like this I ask myself,
what is a flag? A fluttering
symbol of a nation’s amplified
psychosis. A blood-drenched rag
dipped at the passing catafalque.
A handkerchief to wave at the
soldiers marching off to war,
marching against human failure.
Run it up the pole and see who
salutes it. Use it for swaddling,
a bandage after an accident, to
mop the feverish brow of one
unwell. A thing to dry your hands
on after throwing in the towel.
BRUCE MCRAE is Pushcart-nominee and Canadian musician with over 800 publications, including Poetry.com and The North American Review. His first book, ‘The So-Called Sonnets’ is available from Silenced Press. To hear his music and view more poems visit his website or ‘TheBruceMcRaeChannel’ on Youtube.