Jack-O-Fog

it would serve
the would-be puppeteers
to remember me
how I walked through the London fog
my provocative shadow
swallowed, eaten by the mists
leaving only my iron, the bare blade of me
in plain view
and only then if you stood just so—
it was amusing then and is amusing now
to dress as the fop for my long and solitary walks
I love the way the scarified children
stand crowing
buttressed by admiring gangs
how they back away to let me pass
once they’ve given it a little thought—
our sad protectors, the elite, will say
so much of what I do does not need doing
while too much of what needs doing isn’t getting done
I say, are you not in charge?
if my cab carries me to the wrong address
I whip my driver, not his horse
I whip him until the blood leaks from his eyes
I do not wait for consensus
I provide my own redress
you manipulators conceal your motives
try to hide behind your obfuscation and your codes
I do not need them
I am Adam in this world; I am the namer of things
when I dig a hole I do not call it a grave
until I put a body in it
I told them way back then
as I tell you now, it would
be wise
to leave me to my little adventures
as I leave you to yours
fog is my companion
ghostly, grey, and grim
grim for a vapour  that will kill you if you breathe it
that will kill you if you find me in it waiting for you
I am of the fog, I am with the fog
I am the very grimmest of the brume
I am springheeled death in a leather apron—
once, the English vanquished me
and stripped me of the mist that gave me power
with an act of enormous will
they pushed back their own stench
and brought their people air
I had to hand it to them—that is a feat worthy of a leader
to bring your people breath
so I drew back from the daylight
from the blue sky and the
seemingly undistorted visibilty
I was content to wait, knowing
the fog would come again and now it has
what irony that the English
are among the leaders in spewing this modern cloud—
the molecules of life are rounded up
by every agency on earth,
every speck of dust will have its nature known
every door that opens, every case that shuts
every flush, every kiss, caress, and tear
can be called by number and it will come
a database to begrime the mind of God himself
all to make you safer
oh, my precious, bound one
so you can sleep while they watch you—
but like a giant, grown beyond his body’s design,
the sheer gravity of its mass
will, in the end, defeat its purpose
once you have everything, how can you find anything?
the engine will stutter as the system struggles
to live with all that it has learned
until it fuddles itself beyond all efficiency
until there is no vision, no clear image anywhere
only a vast blurring—
the ones who are responsible for us
our stuffing-headed leaders, will be as larks
blinded by minutia instead of hot needles
for they are undone by their ambition
they will never see into the heart of a human, any human
people are more, so much more than can be inferred
from a compendium of their trivia—
this is how the fog returned
this is how I am made whole again, I am
this fog made flesh, spry, and more than ready
to stalk behind its scrim
to fold my menace in its curtain like a secret rose
to strike again and again at will
you should value me for that, for at least
I do it out of love
but if by happenstance and luck
you catch your old pal Jack and take his knife
do not be surprised to see me
laughing at your bold hypocrisy
for isn’t that you, oh noble leaders
who crouch in blood-soaked aprons
with the keen dark blade of Pyrrhus
held against the throat of the whole damned world?

—Don Whittington

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