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A Chant Royal

The mongering in misery is brisk today.
A pint of pain for three quarts of sting,
fragments of dead love affairs, whaddya say?
I’ll even throw in the nasty, helpful thing
I said to a friend a few minutes ago.
I’m quick to bring the spirits of everybody low.
There’s no greater trafficker in grief than me,
with expertise in creeping, gnawing jealousy.
You got nothing to gain, everything to lose—
may as well put your trust in me.
The closest coin is yours to choose.

Wish I knew how I’d managed to stray
into this ville of shops that can only bring
me wriggling anxiety and disarray.
This poison pit stop has me wondering:
I have a fine purse that’s just below
half full, no earthly need for me to blow
it here, where a disengaged economy
deflates and battles for supremacy.
Who was it said, I’m quick to bruise?
You cling too much to skewéd memory.
The closest coin is yours to choose.

Aah, yes, the great philosopher, Duprés!
I’ve read him too. Brilliant how he’ll wing
you out of sunny skies to sullen gray,
two seconds flat. But here, ooh! The bling
and crap, I guarantee, will make you feel so
fabulous, you’ll want to stay to grow
your business here in toiling perpetuity
by investing in how alike and sad we
are. Consciousness rising, that’s the cruise
you wanna book, right here, see?
The closest coin is yours to choose.

The monger’s got me in a power play.
I feel my will and joints slow stiffening.
The sign I couldn’t read well yesterday
above his wares and oily grinning
head says, Come on, baby, just let go!
Rigor mortis of the mind will show
you, an impulsive shopping spree
cures all. We throw in guilt for free!
How ‘bout it? Cheaper than booze,
a slow, lazy drag to the cemetery!
The closest coin is yours to choose.

I look him straight in the mug. You play
dirty. I play differently. I love ca-ching
as much as anyone, but you, you bray
the same old donkey chords of suffering.
I thought at first I saw a special glow
in you—still do, too bad. I have to go.
You’ve built yourself a match stick society
that flames to ashes every night. The fee
you charge for feeling good, your dos
and don’ts, all sorted, they don’t interest me.
The closest coin is yours to choose,

and I am spending mine most happily. Be
well, my friend. I hope you’ll one day see
resentment held is counterfeit and strews
more prolonged misery for you, not me.
The closest coin is yours to choose.


© Elaine Stirling, 2014