Monday, May 9, 2011

Front Man

Front Man

Every power needs a front man
someone blameless, bright and shining,
a stooge who’ll never quite understand
how he’s used  for pocket lining,
the place he fills in the master plan.

It's essential he speak with charm as he preaches
from a  humble soapbox in the village square.
It stuns the crowd if he gives up his riches
or sometimes shaves off all his hair.
While standing up to the scapegoat leeches,

he should radiate upstanding prelate,
woman’s fancy and man’s self-dream.
It helps if sour milk suits his palate
better than  lobster stewed in cream,
his rhetoric smooth as threadbare velvet.

Above all he must seem pure and sincere
strong and innocent, honest in belief,
for that’s what it takes to front the career
of the invisible, guileful, controlling thief
who mints gold from blood and rules through fear.

May 2011

With apologies to St. Francis, for whom I have the highest respect. This photo  just happened to spark a train of thought that has more to do with politics than religion.

and also for

OneStopPoetry Form, A Look at Rhyme

I've tried to include a variety of different types of rhyme in this poem, with at least one 'perfect rhyme' per stanza and the others a mix of feminine and slant rhyme. Gay please critique this aspect as you see fit.

Uncredited Image provided by Magpie Tales


  1. You pack a punch with these words. I especially love the line 'his rhetoric smooth as threadbare velvet'.

  2. Aaw, poor Frank. I understand your take on the prompt.

    I guess I'm looking from the other side and see the good amongst the bad.

  3. Strong and gorgeous. Are you still following La Parola Vivace? xj

  4. I like your take on St. Francis .. politics and all.

  5. You shouldn't apologize for your thoughts. I don't think it matters one whit whether we know we are pocket lining or not --- perhaps a bit better if you know you're a stooge and are ok with that as you keep peeking over the edge of the pocket hem. I love the poem.

  6. powerful poem! sadly apt for our times.

  7. The last lines just blow me away- I love it.

  8. "smooth as threadbare velvet"...I like it!

  9. This a fine work, full of texture and depth.

  10. ah, the front man is often the smiling face that hides the teeth of the machine...whose tongue caresses you while the other knaws the marrow from your bones...nice unique take hedge

  11. "smooth as threadbare velvet" was my fave line, too. A good one, Joy.

  12. let's all get on our kness and pray
    ...we don't get fooled again

  13. very honest.. The front man is meerly a false reflection

  14. I could feel that the words meant something to you

  15. Out through the middle of the day and for some reason couldn't access onestop. Sorry for being so late.

    I loved all of this. Yes you managed those feminine rhymes in every stanza and true rhymes in every stanza and slants throughout as well. Nothing but praise from me because you not only adroitly place the rhymes throughout, it in no way impedes the flow or feels forced. Rather the rhymes seem to magnify the character of the "front man" which not only governments, but businesses, the military, as well as churches use to hide their oily, malevolent purposes. How rich have we made Exxon Mobil this year while they grease their way through the halls of congress? You never fail to excel in all you write. I am your number one (well somewhere in the top ten anyway) fan!

  16. Intelligent and pointed. Your commentary or process notes are appreciated as well. Nice piece. I'll be back to see more.

  17. Thanks for this very insightful piece.

    All the best, Boonie

  18. Yeah it was weird to meld the images of Francis and St. Mitt of Romney, whom you describe to a desecrated "t." The marriage of politics and religion is always unholy (though there are many who would have us do so from the barrel of a shotgun), and there's nothing worse than a political saint. It's like trying to get spirit from a bottle of booze - close, but infinitely no cigar. There's a huge gulf between shaman and savior, dewy-eyed Saint and helmethead Narcissus, and any attempt to confabulate the two -- which so all political strategists try to to, in pulling a wool shirt over a gullible electorate's eyes -- is deserving of this finely combed satire. Three times three bigass crosses with which to bonk these frauds back into the hole where they belong. -- Brendan

  19. Is there a Saint Joy?
    The patron saint of Poetry?
    Therre should be....

  20. Wow! Such a powerful message, told so well. The rhyme never detracted from your words - so skillful a poet.

  21. You nailed it..politicians, organized religion..was it ever thus? And in the mess..pity the human heart, looking for love.

  22. Clever & accomplished. Very skilfully executed.

  23. Many thanks all. I appreciate everyone taking this in the spirit it was intended.

    @FB I'm glad you liked the line you helped inspire. Thanks for your insight and your skillz, which cannot be replaced by a machine, or outsourced to China.

    @Gay Thanks for this prompt, and for your kind appraisal. I know you had a trying time of it yesterday, so your words mean even more than usual.

    @ G-man: like the song says, you'll never make a saint of me, but thanks for the compliment.

    @Ann; Thanks and glad if I didn't need to apologize, but I didn't think St Francis deserved all my ire.

    @Brendan: I actually was thinking of a better person than Romney here, because we tarnish all our symbols and heroes, and they all become pawns, but that's just a hair-split. You nailed what I was driving at right into those three big crosses.

    I've really enjoyed reading all the takes on both prompts--there's been an amazing range. Thanks to all for stopping by and taking the time to leave your impressions.

  24. I particularly like "it helps if sour milk suits his palate". Straightforward and powerful write, Hedge.

  25. an angel in robes
    or pious beggar with a
    devil may care feel


    Oh no I didn't! :D

  26. hm - i understand your "excursion" into politics...the front men...had to say a lot about them as well...the lobster stewed in cream cracked me up...sorry...had to laugh out loud...and now i'm hungry....agh..

  27. and a great deal of truth in your political foray...

  28. You are having a determined go here at vested interests.
    Good for you.
    On top of it you have packed your rage into a very neat package.
    I'm impressed.

  29. Form and content strong. Rene's comment made me chuckle.

  30. "...invisible, guileful, controlling thief
    who mints gold from blood and rules through fear..." Chilling.

  31. Excellent observation of the requirements of a front man.

    Anna :o]

  32. finding a different train of thought is refreshing! nice magging.

  33. You are brilliant. I found myself studying this poem as I would if in a university course on writing.

    (My father-in-law is a retired pastor, and not a favorite person of mine. The first stanza so richly describes him; I love it!)

  34. Superb, perfect, relatable. Wish I'd written this (said in a friendly non-jealous way): one of my favorite piece sprung from this saint-based prompt (there are only two others to claim this distinction).


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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