Mighty Ron, Strong Ron
Ron likes to brand things,
to hear the sizzle of his power
singeing then searing
the hides of others,
scenting the smoke
sweetly suffused with the suffering
of those daring to defy him.
He especially loves leaving his black
mark on wobbly-kneed youngsters
before they learn to resist
and are lost. Before
they seek solace and strength
in books or bodies, ideas or selves
that disturb Ron. Disgust him, really.
Ron brands them for their own good
(and for his, of course),
a great circle of lookers-on cheering
as Ron lifts his bony knee,
releasing the calves that dart away,
in pain, afraid, into the corral
of Ron’s staunch ranch,
his control unquestioned,
a strong and mighty man;
“Just see how strong,” they whisper.
Ron brands the old ones as well,
brands them with an ancient acid,
two parts fear, three parts rage,
five parts blinding bigotry.
Ancient, yes, but still so vividly effective;
They all receive, in fact, their branding
like a benediction.
“This will keep you safe,” he says,
“And free.” Though maimed, they cheer,
happy to now be captives
in Ron’s mighty corral.
“Ron loves liberty!” they sing,
and Ron winks, thrilled by their bleating,
despising their stink.
In the dead of night, though, mighty Ron
is fearful and frail within,
dreaming of a brimming poisonous puss
that threatens to pop off his head
as his face turns red, witnessing
a nightmare rush of crazed calves grown
and vicious, nipping, half-blind sheep
busting down Ron’s mighty corral,
turning the ranch to splinters,
masses yearning to be free,
a disastrous stampede.
Ron reels and shouts and brandishes
his once red iron, now black as death.
Stubbornly, stupidly trampled,
he explodes like a lanced boil,
spewing a noxious white goo
that cascades like slick sleet
over Ron’s once staunch ranch,
to forge an infected wasteland,
a lasting legacy of mighty Ron, strong Ron.
Featured image: Colorado. Branding calves, a photochrom print by the Detroit Photographic Co.