A Profligate Parable
(From The Triumph of Strife: an homage to Dante Alighieri and Percy Shelley)

None dare approach with tidings of bad news
But only sycophants who mew and purr
Unwelcome any hint of other views

The wise have spoken and the wise concur:
The pride has come before; now come the falls
In him no thought or question may occur

In trouble now, he waffles and he stalls
This bubble boy who leaped into the fray
Inside the trap, he finds a creep that crawls:

His time a petty pace from day to day
His once-accomplished mission quite a feat
He sees no option other than delay

He can't advance and yet he won't retreat
So on his grill he roasts his own dead meat

He did the thing he came for -- rob the purse
Of future generations yet unborn.
No surplus funds, just deficits and worse.

He's left to those who'll someday feel forlorn
When paying for this braggart and his bloat
Like sheep whose wool from them is deftly shorn

Before they've even grown it to a coat
The cows he milked before they ate their hay
Less like a rancher than a farmer's goat

He ate whatever plenty came his way
Then ordered up some more so he could gloat
About the fact that he would never pay

He sank for our posterity the boat
His predecessor left for him afloat

No steward, he saw nothing fit to save
"Fiduciary what?" he scoffed and spat
Conservative means more green grass to pave

To feed the wealthy lean to make them fat
The rich will work for more, the poor for less
Incentives, don't you know, are where it's at

Forget about the awful fiscal mess
Someone will come along to clean it up
No need to say you're sorry or confess

Just leave them drinking from an empty cup
Or eating plain potatoes boiled or fried
He does the hard work, screwing pooch and pup

"What's mine is mine," he sniffed, self-satisfied
"What's yours, negotiation will decide"

Procrustes had a scion unredeemed
Who thought: "One-size-fits-all should cover it"
He stretched or hacked ideas while they screamed

Until at last into his head they fit
Reactionary recrudescent riffs:
Compressed into a solitary bit

A unitary CPU for stiffs
Computing one analogy to flog
Like Mister Toad careening over cliffs

Who plunged the car into a stinking bog
Where crocodiles and snakes looked on amazed
And then fell to devouring the frog

Which proved that small amphibians once dazed
Leave reptiles unafraid; indeed unfazed

So now once more Macbeth has murdered sleep
And dreaded nightmares keep those souls awake
Who find themselves too scared to make a peep

Lest any noise alert the ones who take
Whatever in the dark they wish to claim
A life, some fun, or just a garden rake

That "bump" one sometimes hears at night can maim
So Baghdad cringes as an evening falls
While talking to himself, he dreams of fame

Which begs the question if he talks to walls;
But rather: Do they answer, all agog?
At such a sight so awful it appalls

Too good to pet or beat the drowning dog
He stays the course he curses, in a fog

A profligate, this son sowed waste like seed
He took his harvest first; left planting last
Someone had always come to fund each need

So he consumed his capital too fast
Where others would invest for a return
He took returns up front as would his caste

A pampered parasite who likes to burn
A hundred-dollar bill to light a toke
Some elderly portfolios to churn

To milk commissions from the needless smoke
Above two lands he left a smoggy pall
Of debt and dying as his motto croak

Upon his office door he left this scrawl:
"I added nothing; I just spent it all."

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2006-2010