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‘Like dew upon the morning’

Richard Berengarten

(all poems from Cohering)

Some old Fascists have
died. A few still behind bars
are likely to get out soon.

Most have faded away
‘like dew upon the morning’ –
in their own eyes, heroes

in battalions of the brave,
ever secretly unrepentant

believers in values they
first fought for, now taboo.
Entirely harmless? Maybe.

Pot-bellied, varicose-veined,
frequently pissing old geezers
with enlarged prostates –

typical old men. Some wish
they’d died young. Many have
sons, waiting for revenge.

Ventura Street

Richard Berengarten

On the posh side
of Ventura Street, media
creatures, wannabees,

mediocrities, celebs
fix things up, splash
everywhere lies

conducive to their
own advancement. They
twang the networks.

Clinging together
woolly, they climb
the agencies,

promote one another
baa-baa-ing, supportive,
how original we are.

The top ones
clamber over one
another’s corpses.

Heroes, Heroines

Richard Berengarten

Shall they be forgiven, mur-
derous revolutionaries who knew
they’d change the world – yet

perpetrated atrocities? And
what of those worshippers of
far-flung beauty, steel-eyed

in the doing, whose grasp on
unyielding convictions crushed
companions and foes alike?

How mourn those proclaimed
and self-proclaimed heroes and
heroines who, possessed by

childlike angelic visions
of their own importance and
genius, lacked one iota of

modesty or compassion? With-
out fuss or compunction, let’s
tear down their statues.

Mist Dispersing

Richard Berengarten

Meanings gather, adhere,
cohere. Those cunning eroders –
who ran and ruined our city

and confused its ministries
and academies by trouncing
sense out of words and

wheedling purpose from
thought – have gone suddenly
quiet. They’ll be back soon

enough, claiming they’re
something else now, something
fine and new, fully deserving

our trust again. Time we
let them move on past as if
they were mist dispersing.

The cornflower’s core still
blazes and blue in the flame-
heart is everywhere.

Language Palazzo

Richard Berengarten

The Language Palazzo
caved in. Meanings
collapsed to rubble.

In the Hall of Great
Welcomes, monuments
crashed and splintered.

A precious library housed
on the piano nobile
tumbled into vaults.

Muddy canal waters
gushed in upon it
upsetting the lagoon.

Doom-laden analysts
loved it: sluices not and
could vents replaced be.

In the Campo de la Bragola
two children went on playing
blue-chalked hopscotch.

The Prime-Minister Heliports

Richard Berengarten

The prime-minister
heliports to an army
base seven

safe kilometres from
the refugee camp and
gets driven there in

an armour-plated jeep.
Cameras zoom into his
sincere sombre sober

warm composed face
as he sweats in rolled
up shirtsleeves inside

a tent, holding a two
year old child on
his lap. It was worth it,

he says afterwards in
private, grinning, his
steely eyes glinting.


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