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monkey puzzle

I wonder if they would say you’re an elegant Rose
or remain quiet
as they pass under the spiralling branches
of the once ornamental trees
gathered like concerned children
on the edge of a graveyard

many believe
there’s a devil living inside
that if you look closely out of the corner of your eye
far away in the distance beyond the elephant’s foot
there he sits
writing far-fetched tales from his spiky perch

they say a dense crown once sat atop his head
like an unassailable eyrie
now pendulous arms hang down
clothed sharply in triangular dark green
so that he broadly resembles a respectable gentleman
eccentric in a way that makes you stare in disbelief

when we’re afraid
we want to drown out the fear
and so we hide away like a victorian centrepiece
like an over-enthusiastic apology
that puts right some of our past
What was it that he did to attract your attention?

the spider weaves its web in concentric circles
a shimmering golden cape
arranged in spirals around the trunk
it’s a beauty not lost on the devil himself
once again considered vulgar 
and unattractive

could it be that this is his deepest secret
the unmet and unspoken expectations
of a lost and dying world
no longer content to steal the souls of the departed
living relics left behind
like sombre survivors of an earlier time

it is because of this
that they say that the devil is never alone
a thought which has many a monkey
frantically biting its fingernails
always teetering on the seesaw of hope and despair
a bit puzzled and lost in the distant morning haze

© November 2021

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