the relic

Atop the five-story firepole sat a fireman

in a puddle

of his own flab,

moustaches flowing

like tarnished silver

entrails spilling along his gut

entangling

the brass buttons that creaked

under his strain.

This old fireman

filled his post,

completely.

He was sworn

to sit and warn

the children who feverish

streamed past

that the firepole was

CLOSED!

(it was just for show),

a dubious device

from a frightening past,

this firepole,

rusted from being

often forgotten

and bent from seeing

one too many mock it.

The young,

the Youth!

they wanted to ride!

because the aim of life

they knew (but would soon forget)

wasn’t to survive.

they didn’t mind

how rough or how frightening

as long as they gave it a go

as long as they tried.

but the fireman lounging would blow

a whistle,

hoist a meaty hand,

and mounting all his heft and humor

would devilishly command:

Ho!  Halt there, stand back my son!

Have pride in the relic, yes.

But you must never, ever have fun!

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