Harbingers of The Angels

Red and blue.

Red and blue lights.

Red and blue light flashing,


tearing through the quiet night.

A terrible and beautiful display.


They light up the street

and the stars seem to shrink away,

as if giving space

for the first responders to work.


On a path

that takes me nowhere near their

spectacular assembly,

I alter my course to get nearer,

but not too much.


That old sadistic voyeur whispers;

“Just a little closer.”


What manner of bad fortune

has befallen some poor soul this night?

A motor vehicle collision,

are their bodies in the streets?

Have the police got their man,

might they fight the suspect to the ground?

Have the lawmen become the lawless?

Have they shot and killed someone,

feeding the fire of outrage

and fuelling debates on modern social justice?


Old, dark angel on my shoulder whispers,

“Who cares? At least it wasn’t us, right?”


Sensibility returns,

steering me back towards my destination,

leaving the grim theater

of morbid speculation behind.


The men and women

who don the uniforms of society’s protectors,

are sometimes society’s councillors,

but often our janitors.


How must it be,

to have your presence

be synonymous with tragedy?

With fear, with death, with pain?

Stand-ins for our darkest moments,

rarely venerated,

but often ostracized

and avoided,

like harbingers of all bad fortune.


With the lights at my back,

red and blue.

Red and blue lights.

Red and blue lights flashing.

 I put as much distance between them and myself

as fast as the law will allow

and I wonder,

do they still have an angel

on their shoulder,

and if so, which one?


Red and blue lights in the darkness,

never blending to form a purple hue,

but always exposing our

old, dark, voyeuristic selves,

always alighting our fate.


HG -2016

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