Editing poetry: Haile Selassie descends on the people (Passages From History I)

Around this time I was reading Saul Williams’ excellent poetry book ‘The Dead Emcee Scrolls’, and this was part of a set of three pieces I wrote that attempt to fade into something of his bubbling, rhythmical style. The subjects were dictators of the world, specifically Haile Selassie, Idi Amin and Stalin. For more on Haile Selassie, I’d recommend Kapucinski’s excellent book ‘The Emperor’. For anyone who remembers my earlier post on borrowed lines, I should point out that this piece contains a line from Radiohead’s Thinking About You.

The lion of Judah
Is roaring across the desert
An imperial plague
Slime trailing purple palaces
Sweeping the people before him
Like slaves under swords

He is building the great edifice
Titanic Mesopotamia,
The Eritrean firebrand
That will stamp his people
Into obedient blocks
To bleed to please him

But the sandstorm is coming
Robed in whispers
Bones of rumours,
Alabaster,
Plaster cast in bronze,
The stones are set for a fall,
The wicked mountains shield their eyes
The molten gold streams into the streets of the revolution.

via Editing poetry: Haile Selassie descends on the people (Passages From History I).

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