New poetry by Kelwyn Sole

The JRB presents previously unpublished poetry by Kelwyn Sole.

The leader’s speeches


The leader’s speeches slide into our ears
like grease,
                    and clog
                                    so we scratch ourselves
again, again, with the tickle of his promises;
till we are soothed in our knowledge
that they’re lies, that nothing changes.

I’m reminded of the lungfish, beslimed
and bumbling, which at each drought’s onset
digs into the drying mud to wait—hoping to
become invisible—for the rains it prays may,
just may, come.
                    Just so
                                    he starts to estivate,
po-faced. Then he remembers: and a smile
wickers across his features its brief electricity.
Yet only his followers can be lit up for long
with this iteration, the routine pledges none
but they suppose will ever be fulfilled.

Our cities crumble, and those given them
in guardianship bicker in their greed
                                                        as the old
slogans of liberation peel their paint and crack,
shopworn and potholed as the ruins of commerce
and supply our country has become. We moulder
in disbelief at what keeps happening, though
each one keeps tweeting urgent supplications,
compulsively, to the online gods to take note
of our individual, ersatz, transient survival.

For what else can we do? No one seems
to know, or be able to imagine, the future;
so continues to spell out our private void
in the middle of calamity
                                    into infinity.


There’s mold
                    and mildew
                                    and neglect
on our memory of past heroes now frozen
into statues, because the lichen of the leader
and his party clings corrosively to everything.

On every screen the pixels reviving the faces
that lived history are buffered to mythologies:
their courage endured through
blood and pain, misspoken.

                                    All around us
we see freedom’s cuckoos grown and fattened
in nests of tenders and deployments

and the birdshit beggars belief.

Previously unpublished, © Kelwyn Sole, 2024

One thought on “New poetry by Kelwyn Sole”

  1. So, so very on point for every person to ponder as they listen to barrage of promises that again are used to garner support for the coming elections. The creative expression is just so beautiful! Thank you!

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