“We Won’t Admit Stories Into Our City…”
After Plato’s Republic

Nate Fisher

The fantastic word, by nature, a loathsome thing
3 - 4 dried curl of apple skin in the cellars of the
old garden, exodus rusted irreverent and
bronzed shoes knotted together, a new fig dangling
from the prowess lines, telegraph tapping out

letters from the bred-to-be-farmhands, reading:
Dear pa, thought about stringing you up.
couldn’t find enough rope. But thanks for
reading me those fables as a kid, and telling me
respect is earned. It’ll come in handy, I’m joining
 a liberation front. Your boy’s really coming up
 in the world, they said next week I get to be the bomb!

            a federal building incensed by plastique. down the street
the committee on nefarious poetics interviews a candidate
auditioning for imitator-in-chief. He parrots thunder politely,
a gentleman silver who carries a bag full of inspirational
plaques, has a meter of polished leather

soles marching through the streets with placards howling,
 “down with the mixo-lydian!”, a strike against passages;
the drunk, the soft, the idle dumped into manholes:  no
dirge or lamentations for lovers of laughter, the mad

boozers in the gutters; flopping, torn herring
thrown off their stools for spouting an iamb
after two trochees, bad rhythm in their ankles
breaking in their worst ideas: death might not be
                                                an easy eruption, after all

an m16 lionfiring dactyl-dactyl-spondee, the hero behind
the iron sights gunning his way toward a service medal for
hashing village-meat with the most courageous of syllabics

arriving ticker taped alongside the visiting sonneteer,
the pawsy crowd pouring myrrh onto his forehead, stuffing
wreaths into his mouth, purring “Oh, There’s no one like you!”
until they can tear him apart, bones in a box and shipped
out snugtight in a coal car. Out of town, out of mind.

kid inkhorn scrawls "A stone, a leaf, an unfound door"
on the side of a signal box by the tracks in impiety red
paint marker. thirty three years later, he’s the
laureate fella found dead with a cork in his teeth,
refused a chorus for writing Hell into handbooks

by the city on the wall, night woolen behind glass,
where the nurse mothers tuck in the earthborn,
whispering wasps from the psuche’s hive-maw, woven in
soul shapes and embroideries of the golden story.
                        they’re wetting beds in allegory,
                        lies sown in youth for the greater glory.