Politics and Shame



You are nothing before you are naughty;
You are no one till caught.
Bittersweet juice, like acid on your tongue,
The taste of wrong,
The pure shock of difference
And your innocence gone. Inward you turn:
You learn to hide yourself from me,
And I, wide-eyed,
To see you.


"His tailor is mad," whispers Reason.
Fashion is the self-regarding gaze,
The void voiding.
Adoring crowd and crowd-adoring
Emperor, naked in the garden.

Hiding nearby in the bushes
The Fool, The One-Eyed Idiot,
Waits to catch the Emperor's glance.
"The shattering power," whispers Reason,
"Of one knowing look
In a vast hall of mirrors."

But in fading natural light
Their eyes meet
And the Emperor winks.