Poem by Kate Maxwell

December 15, 2023

Stick Up

The Presidents of America charged into the bank
and let rip with a ratatatat of capitalist fire.

Their plastic toothy grins and cut-out eyeholes
dark as bullets    determined as destruction

bored into our captured skulls with a calculated
cartoon domination.    Forced to kneel    we clasped

clammy fingers behind heads    whisper-pleading
to the old man with no health insurance    Stay down!

but he bled out like so much roadkill    run down
by wagon trails of followers    enroute to serve

their current king. And of course    they got away
with it    snatching overstuffed bags of stolen

sweat and tears    laws stitched and stacked through
years and years while covering tracks to ivory

towers and arsenals of litigation. Nothing to be done
but lie still and count backwards.    Afterwards

we spat carpet fibres from dry mouths    shook off
the shame and shrapnel of defeat    reformed

into compliant lines to deposit average yearning
everyday despair    and negotiate terms.

About Kate Maxwell

Kate Maxwell grew up in the Australian bush. Now a city dweller, her interests include film, wine, and sleeping. She’s been published and awarded in many Australian and international literary magazines such as Caustic Frolic, Sheepshead Review, Books Ireland, and The Galway Review. Kate’s anthologies are Never Good at Maths (Interactive Publications, 2021) and Down the Rabbit Hole (Ginninderra, 2023).

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