Narcissus of the Republic

Every third of May, ribbons unfurl in my green and
Lonely mind, jets streak my skies.
Crowds circle riverbanks and trees
To bring cheer and adore Me;
Diatribes of good words and humid days of fine deeds.

They do this because they love Me;
They have given me power over them.

But I shall be a Republic of My own,
Autonomous and inward;
I shall have diplomatic relations with no one.
Every state I deal with on my own terms
And for my own prosperity.

I have practiced sincerity in the mirror of these people’s hopes
I have licensed their smiles with the
Flicker of my conceit.
My reflection is fierce, but it is my own!
The logic of the machine tolerates no deceit.

My reservoirs of feeling are shallow;
streets and arteries emptied of life.
Dead as the saline, passionless sea
That marks the borders of my vastness; all
Untouched and unmoved by Me.

I appear at palatial windows, salute my subjects
Then disappear –
And reappear
on city squares where daily-tired feet drag,
on money and on stamps, in courtrooms
of judges, bureaucrats, in ribbons of flags.

My formidable spirit menaces, threatens,
Does not love you back. No golden rings but metal cuffs
on those who in my artifice are not pleased.
Do not ask what this Republic can do for you!
I am forever unmoved; but in your admiration, appeased.

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