The Leopard’s Good Idea or Costume Change The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold The arch-enchanters wand! - itself a nothing! – Edward Bulwer-Lytton 1 One day the crafty leopard hit upon the neat idea to turn out his old wardrobe in favour of a whole new look. Out went last season’s winter warmers as if a change of pelt might bring about a change in personality. Nonetheless, the inclination to swindle outweighs any kindness. So, the cheating and subterfuge runs its course, until the cheat and the cheated part company in the face of wild promises and denials. 2 Now we journey to the end of time to ascertain whether the pen really is mightier than the sword, only to find what we always suspected. 3 When the age of starlight comes to its ungodly end – the leopard’s spots will persist fixed – not unlike a bad tattoo – the arch enchanter nothing more than a bad memory orbiting the last dwarf star, dwarfed by shame – a stubborn stain fading fast in the desolate night. A history of nothing but rage and adieu, or in the last sad words of the philosopher – from nothing, through nothing to nothing. Cunt La plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu'il n'existe pas. – Charles Baudelaire The shifty misogynist picks at his spots with a needle, as if releasing a bad spirit, or warding off a bad omen like a junky wary of the cops weighing in to kick the door off and bang him in a glass cell – to protect him from his own hand. In all likelihood, the glitching won’t end unless the master welder is excreted like a bad case of diarrhea – until the wheat is sorted from the chaff. * What do you expect from the devil but deception wrapped as bread and wine. Sloughing for John Doyle To rid itself of parasites and enable new growth, the sidestepping cobra slowly sheds its skin but do not be fooled by the sight of one predator leaving itself defenseless as it eradicates another. You must always be on your guard and remember – even without coiling to assume the strike position danger strikes silently spitting venom without warning. * Anyone unlucky enough to be acquainted with the hooded menace might wish to keep a mongoose at hand to offset any material losses, prevent further trespass and send him packing (not before time) into the dustbin of all your past mistakes.
Mark A. Murphy is the editor of the online journal, POETiCA REViEW. His poetry collections include Tin Cat Alley (1996), Our Little Bit of Immortality (2011), Night-watch Man & Muse (2013), To Nora, A Singer of Sad Songs (2019), and Night Wanderer’s Plea (2019). His next full-length collection, The Ontological Constant is due out in June (2020) in a bi-lingual German/English edition from Moloko Print in Germany. This is his first feature in The Fictional Café.