SAINT MICHAEL

St, Michael is the chief Archangel; he is... ...a warrior. September 29th is his day; Michaelmas.

What’d I do
to deserve such honor,
why’ve I been selected?
Days,
spent preening my feathery wings,
now receed …
like the cloud, once perched by brother Satan,
when he free-fell, arms flailing,
leathery wings shorn of angelic plumes.
Always the one to … qualify,
take issue with
the “comfortable” ones
and so,
serve God
by providing a bad example,
as contrast
and, so, definition
of the good.
He rode his rails unerringly
to the absurd reduction.
His fate is sealed … irreversibly.

Now I sit here reading “Greetings! …”
and am drafted.
The cost of existence
in this free society.
Mine, … a draft board of one.
I’d not expected my role to be
the soldier;
had hopefully assumed myself able
to live peacefully,
unstudied in the skills of war,
unsullied by the thrills of war.
(Vain expectation, that.)
But there are no Swedens or Canadas here…
… no sympathetic physicians
to declare my health inadequate
to the task of death.
… no well-connected Daddy
to buy me a future.
He is my selective service
… and I’m selected.

Our wishes
have no effect on the way
our square-pegged selves
pierce the hymen of history.
… No president, I,
and unable to refuse,
if nominated, to run;
if elected, to serve.
My fate is sealed
and my track won’t swerve.

The Angel known for nastiness…
… ingenious.
I see my brother’s tricks
for what they are.
His rhetoric’s appeal
to uninitiated souls
is logical in its success.
Yet his effort is fueled by
promise of advantage to be gained.
His tirelessness
is fueled by self interest.
He’ll not discount tactic
for its low ethic
or persistence
for its unseemliness.
Unfettered by the need
to maintain acceptable aspect,
he’ll bite
and claw
and cheat.
The Marquis of Queensberry is his meat.

My tragedy is thus defined.
My strategy is most inclined to
… the “good fight.”
Yet I’ve a need to be seen … so.
Lacking the freedom
to let go the righteous pose
it pains me
to use tactics seen as meaner
than those devised
by the Devil’s guise,
… used by me
to elicit his defeated yelp.

Fighting fire with fire,
I see myself at thirty thousand feet,
loosing Napalm on the foe beneath me.
Secure in my sensibilities’ cloak,
holes eaten by moths of conscience
as I joke with the other Archangels in the mess,
hoisting cans of refreshing,
Bacchic-blessed froth.
I know I’m safe from my Father’s wrath.
But my dreams …
are where the battle’s been taken
by my foe,
my brother,
mean as no other.
His weapons …
… the best that money can buy
from the “state of the art” armory
stockpiled by God our Father.

As my fiery sword
punctures his scaly hide,
his dragon-breath scorches
my outer side
and, riding later,
sitting on a limosine trunk,
adored
by consumers of the junk
He once purveyed so shamelessly,
the paper-tape confetti
of yesterday’s ticking transactions
filling the air with summer snow,
… my face smiles acceptably
for the throng
too far back
to see my eyes know wrong.

As my grandchildren frolic at my feet
and my children define their lives
… by my deeds,
my silent aspect is accepted,
they allow me space
to appear dejected.
They know mine’s not a dour soul,
if you listen to them
it’s plain enough.

But I’ll not
… shatter their paradise.

Copyright: J. Risdon 1992 and 2011

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