Our stalwart king

In the days when cigarettes, cigars
and pipes were okay and many
society barons (long forgotten, dead,
or disgraced) regularly betrayed us
and our faces, for fun, were blackened with
black cork, and darkness closed in
and extinguished both passion and

intelligence, our stalwart king (a figurehead
we figured) of Romania had the august
temerity, the noblesse oblige, to arrest
our Nazi puppet dictator in our country’s castle
where the cruelty of nature was matched tat
for tat with the inherent cruelty of religion
Oh, how that dictator was hated

and for that special moment
our dictator was gone, deposed by
our artificial, pictorial, stalwart king
We then survived a thousand dawns
before the communists came
and forced our king to leave
“Abdicate before you and a thousand

of your most ardent student followers die”
He expressed himself with a certain roughness
but was beloved by the people who wanted
to be whole and wanted all their parts to work
I, myself, don’t want to be all that
different from anyone else
Only your lovers can truly betray you

On note spluttered pages, Howard
wrote about how much he hated our
angry, violent father
I didn’t feel that way and never
thought our dad could die
His death was my first lessen
in life’s inherent sadness

He died young, and maybe,
had he lived, he would have
changed and Howard wouldn’t
have had to carry that hate around
the way he did until he died
Maybe the whole universe would have
opened up in a different way for them both

I, myself, am a bit like grandma
I like whole milk yogurt, oatmeal, I’m
musically inclined, going a little deaf, and
I sometimes hum to myself like she would
and, oh yes, I’m a bit curmudgeonly like she was
without meaning anybody any permanent harm
Said a woman known for her scandals

“It wasn’t sex for money that caused
me my problems” she said “That was
done in desperation and to pay some bills
It was when I had sex for love or
lust that always caused the trouble
Look, in those days there were
good girls and bad girls

Good girls had no sex at all
and bad girls had just a bit”
The deposed king left Romania
by train with the following essentials:
nine cases of gin, four American
automobiles, and three shotguns
The government claimed he stole

a state portrait of himself but the
king denied this and settled in Switzerland
where he sired five daughters and went on
to be a commercial pilot, a stockbroker and,
briefly, a chicken farmer
He knew his forced abdication was illegal
and finally died, in his mind and ours, a king



-December 9, 2017-