Bad Reviews (Day 14, 2017)

Today is the fourteenth day of National Poetry Writing Month.  It is also the 152nd anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Bad Reviewa

John Wilkes Booth 
couldn’t resist showing off,
couldn’t just shoot a guy and run.
No, he had to jump 
from the box to the stage,
pose dramatically with a dagger,
and yell some Latin
before darting out a side exit
to his waiting horse.

He wanted to be the hero
in a play only he perceived,
and, like any middling actor,
he chewed the scenery 
during his brief appearance
to make sure he’d be remembered.

This was a time in history
when two armies would
stop fighting at sundown
and get some rest 
a few hundred yards apart
then line up at dawn
facing each other,
ready to plunge a bayonet 
into the other guy.
There were rules,
standards of honor
that precluded firing
a pistol into the back of
your worst enemy’s head
while he chuckled at bad play,
unaware that you were 
lurking in the shadows.

Booth, more stuntman 
than thespian, never fully
understood his character
or how he fit into the story,
not as the triumphant
Savior of Southern Pride,
but as an arrogant murderer
whose one notable scene
cemented the true hero’s legacy.


About semiblind

Bringing you stark existentialism since 1981.
This entry was posted in best-laid plans, history, NaPoWriMo, people, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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