The Clothes Dictators Wear by John Eppel

Reads: 787  | Likes: 41  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Award winning poet John Eppel's poem for Competent But Unfitted

The Clothes Dictators Wear

John Eppel


Cloth creases, even worsted, with old age;

tones, even tyrants’, turn cataract blue;

the folded hanky, stained with rheum; the shame


of water marks upon the fly; the rage

of effeminate fists inclined to slew,

limp-wristed, around gatherings of lame


duck eggheads that feed Zimbabwe to gold

diggers, carpetbaggers, corporations

with logos that excite children, excite


mistresses with gross appetites for old

holders of fierce contending nations,

feral dogs dragging  promise into night;


dragging suits more wrinkled, more vaguely hung,

no longer moving like a second skin

though once bespoke. But now the lily folds,


the prostate nudges the bladder, the lung

 is bunged, the lip  minced; and the botox grin

like pressed cloth, dry-cleaning, coat hangers, holds,


holds an Italian design, choosy, slick:

a three-piece suit on a tottering stick.


John Eppel is a Zimbawean poet. He is the recipient of Ingrid Jonker Prize and NMet Prize, among other literary honors. He was one of the writers in the 2019 African Writers' Festival in Berlin. 

Submitted: December 26, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Competent But Unfitted. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Facebook Comments

Other Content by Competent But Unfitted

Book / Literary Fiction

Book / Literary Fiction