A Modern Mother’s Ode

Inside the bedroom, squalid thoughts asleep,
An emperor of midnight shouts and snorts
Snored thunderclaps at 3. Who could he be,
This long-tressed beauty with a Viking’s face?
How many had he axed to find this bed,
Unstained by blood, untraced by other hands?
And why would he submit to such grim torture
As spend the moon’s best hours unconsciously?
His was the crown we placed upon a hero;
And now it rests upon a table, cold,
Unpolished, pushed aside, to signify
A great intended’s casual lack of interest.
So why did anyone invest in him?
It is a question that we cannot answer
The while he lies upon an unwrapped mattress.
A generation back, his truthful father
Would not have acted out a dispensation
Of public wealth. He would have borne with pride
The jeweled helmet that we gave, and shone
Like sunlight from his place of public honor.
He would have been a king in any dream,
Even one bounded in a nutshell’s space.
The son however shags the memory
And places all his hopes on getting high,
A royal wastrel on a stoop, a junkie
To whom we’d offered a pretentious state
In which he might presume to rule himself.

Arthur Mortensen of Brooklyn has appeared in many journals and has three collections: A Disciple After the Fact, a novel in verse (Kaba Press); Life in the Theater, sequel, and Why Hamlet Waited So Long (San Sebastian Press). Upcoming is After the Crash, currently in submission. He has been editor & publisher of Somers Rocks Press, Pivot Press, and is Webmaster of www.expansivepoetryonline.com.