The first leg of our troika was removed easily enough;
Courage is a mercurial thing, waxing and waning
As frequently as the tides–or, perhaps more accurately,
It is like the doomed cell hosting a virus,
Left a barren husk of its former self once the germ
Has gone about its business and moved on.
In any case, he has happily cast off the burden of leadership
So often and unwisely fixed upon our martial heroes,
Content to appear at parades and other events of state,
Answering the roar of the mob in an almost authentic manner
(Though just barely perceptibly less so each year),
Living testament to the notion
That it is easier to be lionized than to live as the lion.
I had convinced myself that a two-headed regime
Would be perfectly workable,
That I could be the yin to the yang
Of my erstwhile alloy colleague (the intoxicant of power
So dulling my senses that I could believe such nonsense),
The contemplative man of thought acting as a counterweight
To the fiery man of action, the man of the blade.
I had somehow presupposed (such was the vastness
Of my delusion) that my old brother-in-arms would defer
To the appeal of painstaking analysis and meticulous planning;
It was if I had forgotten that, provided with the genie-like largesse
Of the acquisition of anything he desired, he’d asked for a heart,
As if there wasn’t enough sturm und drang taking place
In that miniature steam boiler of a chest!
While I had buried myself in charts and task-force reports,
He had enmeshed himself in consolidating power.
When his yeomen, huge-hatted and well-armed
Came to my suite of offices to place me under arrest,
I was, at my core, not particularly surprised.
To parrot the line of so many of those who have shared a fate
Much worse than my own, I am well treated by my caretakers-cum-captors;
My living quarters are comfortable enough,
And I can read, write, and research at my leisure,
Provided I don’t attempt to transmit any of it
To the outside world. Beyond the boundaries of this small compound,
I am a non-person; neither my name nor image
Has appeared in the pages of the Daily Ozmapolitan for several years,
And it is whispered (with the full knowledge and abetment
Of the current elite) that I am, in fact, gravely ill if not dead.
I could, I suppose, rage against my confinement,
Shout my grievances and pronouncements against autocracy
To the heavens, but my cottage and the outbuildings
Lie in a thickly forested place, and it has not escaped my notice
That all of these structures are built entirely from wood.
No matter, then; I am the victim first and last of my own foolishness,
My own inability to resist the nectar of power, the ambrosia of command.
I, of all people, believing the road could run both ways!