Composite Sketch of My Enemy
We are asking all members of the public
to be on the lookout for
a bluff, chuffed eager geezer
who’s got the unearned charm of a stolen hotel towel;
who is as cavalier about taking up your time
as the broad vowels in the phrase ‘offshore accounting’;
who wears two rings on each pinkie
and has eyebrows like the filling of sausage rolls;
who is between forty and four hundred years old
to judge by his sado-erotic philosophy;
who may be heard saying things like,
‘I live in a post-racial world—
the only colour I see is gold’;
who thinks of history as a toy glider—
something to be thrown into a field;
who would like to see natural law repealed;
who uses bath bombs in the shower;
who’s had some interesting thoughts
about Foucauldian biopower
as he buys up the supplements aisle;
who is not a ‘lover of wine’ but an ‘oenophile’;
who is not a ‘lover of folders full of spreadsheets’
but a ‘fileophile’;
who should go seasteading
or on a five-year paintballing weekend
to give his ex-kids and soon-to-be partner a break;
who is like Christ in the desert,
tempted by Satan to turn stones into bread,
except he gives in to the temptation
and sells the heavy loaves as ‘Satan cakes’.
He was last seen at 8.30 on Monday morning
heading into a newly-opened office block
that looks like a fridge in a moonbeam.
He was seen treating himself to a coffee-flavoured kombucha.
He was seen treating powerful monsters with great respect.
He was seen saying we should treat the poor
with experimental drugs.
If you see this man, do not approach him.
You don’t know what sort of dangerous mateyness to expect, so
call in the biohazard team.
Call in the serious strategists drinking tea out of serious mugs.
Call in an airstrike.
Call in a tax hike.
Call in the trigger-happy negotiators and live wires.
Call in the prick-sniffing dogs.
Call in the bounty hunters, forensic accountants,
and mounted police of several shires.
Call in a therapy chimp to give him a hug.
Information leading to his capture
will be rewarded at the going rate:
a used copy of The Path to Power by Margaret Thatcher
and a Fyre Festival commemorative plate.
January 20, 2021
Erik Kennedy (US/NZ) is the author of There's No Place Like the Internet in Springtime (VUP, 2018), and he is co-editing a book of climate change poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific forthcoming from Auckland University Press in 2021. His poems, stories, and criticism have recently been published in places like FENCE, Hobart, Maudlin House, Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, the TLS, and Western Humanities Review. Originally from New Jersey, he lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.