The clink and splash
of scotch and ice on crystal
drowns out the boffo bluster,
muffling even the
staccato of driving
leather heels on hardwood.
Ballantine on the master’s lips,
corpulent and dandy,
the gold buckles on his shoes,
and matching buttons on his coat
belying the death stuffed in his pockets.
Starch, wool, silk, little blue pills
and smoke are the salve
along with folding money in long wallets.
Cigars, coffee and steaks then
smoke, young flesh, and ruddy abandon.
Dread is a currency, a cudgel,
a sharp stick to be used in
marble hall battles and bedrooms
in stocked city high rises, referenced in
low talk, signals, and code.
The cufflinked army grinds ahead
on a steady diet of red meat and brown liquor,
the fear a pull away in their suit pockets,
a safety net as they strip mine
trailer parks and Section 8 housing.