The Loaf-Guards

At the edge of a great river
survives a small human community
of a few select breeds,
of even fewer supernatural creeds:
the temporal and the spiritual
as one token of a natural afterlife.

They huddle together, backward,
in a chamber on the upper level:
the House of Loaf-Guards.
It gives warmth to cold aristocratic members,
it shelters them from the idea of justice,
it imposes its style on the view across the river.

Among themselves equal to their peers,
but distinguished in perpetual apartness,
the loaf-guards form a realm that exists
by the grace of historical inequality,
by the grace of monumental irrelevancy,
making a travesty of democracy.

In their abstractions they stress the differences
between the color of their bread-winners' blood
and that of the untitled, bread-losing classes,
between their established ideology
and what they are too self-righteous to recognize,
too self-satisfied to realize.

In their debating battles
'relevant' and 'viable' are depicted as monsters
that suddenly emerge from the river,
that trample over the sticks in the mud,
that bite into their deteriorating tongue,
that threaten to batter their whole inert body.

a female commoner is turned into a loaf-kneader,
for life,
while the loaf-guards continue to lord it over
the lower chamber,
as supervisors in the name of the law.

And occasionally,
a male commoner is turned into a loaf-guard,
for life,
while the suzerain continues to queen it over
the humble servant,
as a quasi-symbol in the name of order.

Before too many start crying "Use your loaf"
the stale bread is slightly reshaped
to find place for petty new ingredients
in the pitiable mass of archaisms.
Tasteless and dry it remains,
in the house by that great river.

The loaf-guards stay where they are,
anxiously observing the currents
from their medieval position.
Intoxicated by a tainted slice of the past
the mainstream idles its time away, aimlessly,
without direction.

Vincent van Mechelen

 printing black on white 

©MVVM, 42-61 ASWW