Poetry by Rolli (Charles Anderson)

June 1st, 2009











Sometimes the shy miss
with cat eyes
put feather to paper
scratched and restored
worlds of politics
ten times before lunch
It was like shouting
into cushions
no chance of being heard
by the frightening men
in the next room

Standing by the window
she smiled
at a friend’s cyphered letter
smoothed it, took ink
and penning her secret answer
tossed it to the wind

Someone approached the door
She reclined on silk
and waited







The Zealot





After years and hawk eyes
on parties
broad sheets-and-casts
the zealot
dared by a cynic
walked blindfolded for a spell
the ground stayed whole
comets kept their wings
nothing rocked
the changeless day-to-day
(whoever sat faraway swivelling
in a wig of dust)
from time to time
a penny of bread or gasoline







Just So





Over crested sweaters
loose pants
hats at the proper cant
the collegians
(for the weather was cool)
wore togas of outrage
chic over shoulder
just so

Of course of course
our hollo thunder’s mute
to marble halls
the starved scarred or dead
of oceans away
Opinion sans consequence
is fashionable nothing
hollo hollo hollo







The Politician



for ___________ (insert politician’s name here)


Mr X the politician
won the public’s heart
with a monotone suit
oratory chrome
and a haircut bought from an out-of-the-way shop for the bargain price of $49.95
He promised lean taxes
new cures
and the moon (incrementally, by 2016)
In return the public
always gracious, propped him on lawns
slapped him on bumpers
squeezed him out on brushes
breathing freshness in the face of opposition
Most importantly, they dropped him into small boxes conveniently held under their noses

After tally and retallyation
Mr X (who could doubt it) was victor
There were speeches
breathless ovations
pickles and sandwiches and cakes (alas, no chocolate)
after which X
dabbing his eyes
strode into his office
locked the door behind him
and–did what he pleased

The public was, well, unimpressed
would have rioted, too
if the weather’d been warmer
the tv poorer
if insurrection had, at the time
been held in good taste (they didn’t believe it was)

“Next year, Agnes,” said one elector to the other
with a firmness verging on sincerity
“I’m voting for Mr Y”

And they nodded all the way home







The Elector





The elector burned
behind a confidential screen
Party and policy
were nothing to his wool-stopped ears
Any man will do
(as badly as any other)

His choice came down to appearances
From platform and podium
billboard, poster, and lawn
from broadcasts unending
what face would offend him least?

Cross off the crocodilian whiz
the countess bejowled and scowling; of course
the oily androgyne
and the unfortunate choice came down
(and down further)
to Mr A
clean, hairless, fat
blubbering for the not-yet-born
and B
mustachioed and grim champion
of the not-quite-dead
And both, naturally, repulsive

The queue shifted left to right
a prickling centipede

Always in a knot, these days
Oh, well-the choice is obvious

He held a match to the ballot
dropped it in the box
and whistled




The Candidate


Baffled to wake in a blind alley?
Well …

Your sympathies lay with the public, and
snored loudly
so I tied your few things
to a broomstick, slipped
it in your arms
and rolled you
clacking down the stairs
out the door
down and out in the street
where I found you
to wait, I suppose
for some callow new mistress

I just thought you should know excites your soul.


About Rolli (Charles Anderson)

Rolli is the recipient of the 2007 John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Byline, Grain, and many anthologies.


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