Empire of The Golden Lion


Golden lion gilt

touches every gesture.

The flourish

flaking off each figure,

like the work

of a low-rent Midas.

Illusions of opulence

to keep the poor at bay.

Imagine the artist,

hammering down leaf after leaf,

knowing the statuary

merely stands in

for the threat of violence.

But oh,

does it ever shine like the sun.

Few things impress like oppression.

The vain and initiated

love to gather around

and conjure up ever greater horrors

for their loyal subjects.

Most of us speak of wealth

in coin and cattle,

but for them,

the only currency

is blood and homage.

Men, women, and children,

numbered and marked.

Soldiers, priests, and adepts

for their churches

of self-veneration.

Slaves for toil,

stock to be bred,

and blood to be spilled

in their own name.

For every one

of those gilded statues

of stylistic, human forms

are merely

sacrificial altars to themselves.

Lords of men.



and petty criminals

of noble birth,

whose hands reach out

to gilt anything in their domain,

only to have it turn to ash.

That’s why the gold leaf

is so painstakingly applied.

For the master,

is just the servant

of another,

yet more wicked force.



and avarice

may force the artist’s hand,

but they do not make

the Philosopher’s Stone.



DJR – 2023

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