What Shapes a Dictator

Written for:  Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads – Weekend Mini-Challenge,
“Chernobyl and Fears” (posted by Bjorn)
“The other day I wrote a poem imagining how it would feel like to die from radiation poisoning:


The sky was different
the day the birdsong ceased,
(as if they knew)
it carried in itself
a tepid hue of sick blancmange,
That day my skin was drizzle-glazed
but yet
It had not bloomed
in radiation rashes yet
my inner organs had not given up.

They came the morning after
to lock me up
to observe my symptoms
to learn how blood may boil.

I’m waiting
in the company of two-way mirrors
from my only window, still, I see
the staring moon,
a solemn gaze tonight
that’s veiled behind
a cataract of poisoned cumulus,

tonight I’ll cease.

but still I know
that many more
will come to fill my void
to melt like me.

“Not an uplifting topic, but the recent series on Chernobyl made me remember those days when news was breaking and we all had to look at the spring around us with different eyes.”

I am not expecting you to go fully activist on this prompt, but rather make your fear of the unknown deaths that’s linked to breathing and eating. If you want to be specific and focus on Chernobyl and the breakdown of Soviet Union that is also fine with me, but remember that the failure of the systems was the result of corruption, which is not only a communist problem. It’s a human problem.

If you prefer to talk about the fear of a nuclear war that is also fine by me.”

has replaced diplomacy–
if you do this . . .
we will do that . . .
All dictators are addicted
to power–need to rule
and control. Takes its
toll on so many innocent
people. Children
subject to killing
poisons. Nuclear war
seemed so far away,
but thanks to some
of the world’s most
powerful leaders,
it creeps closer
every day. Weapons
that gel your insides,
wipe out whole cities.
Not only do I find it
terrifying, I believe
there are those in
governments who would
like to see it happen,
who have no qualms
about bombs, napalm,
agent orange, chemical
warfare. So I ask,
who will there be left to rule?


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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18 Responses to What Shapes a Dictator

  1. kanzensakura says:

    Good question. Maybe we all perish.


  2. SatyaPriya says:

    Makes me think of the bunkers dug under some cities, and into the Rockies(I think) in America, to house various governments, in the case of nuclear war/alien attack/viral outbreaks. Because the people we want surviving and perpetuating our species are politicians.


  3. The fat cats think their wealth will protect them and they dont care about the rest of us. 2020 cant come fast enough and let’s hope for change, or our poems are going to get really gruesome. Lol.


  4. oldegg says:

    Hopefully other animals will take over and create a natural balance again in the world. How good it will be without the waste makers!


  5. Brendan says:

    Amen. Just when we got Frankenstein finally locked away, we handed the Doctor’s boss the key.


  6. Kerry says:

    thanks to some
    of the world’s most
    powerful leaders,
    it creeps closer
    every day..

    Sadly true! Present leaders have learnt very little from the 20th century.


  7. Reminds me of Eisenhower’s warning about the military industrial complex… it doesn’t even take a dictatorship… with enough corporate money it might happen anyway.


  8. Well said. I like the repetition of sounds in the lines “who have no qualms about bombs, napalm, agent orange, chemical


  9. Vivian Zems says:

    I don’t think the leaders have an answer to the last question. Maybe, they’ll have to have a 3 year board meeting to arrive at that question. Good one!


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