Gist-Mill Reporter

Her secret clan
nonplus at dusk
must discuss
later on —
hush the literary
pretensions not macho

She flattered herself
sociologist of the ‘hood
kindred big sister scribbler.

Kind scribe
for hustling masses
on penthouse roof
yearning to be
squeegee squatters,
she fancied herself

A coup:
her street gang
leader friend
who she taught to read

He’s been reading the paper —
seems excited, says:

Never weakness again.
Hush now sister:

Had I annihilated,
blown them,
turned their knives from my brother,
he would be Niyazov, but now

My secret posse
has exterminated all dares, and
I am Turkman,
of the ‘hood,
author of proper terror,

I see the value of reading:
to dream of territory
like Turkmenistan,
to be leader:

prefers newly bare deeds amuck in melee
and I

His portraits are everywhere.
They worship him, but
he can be kind.

I am like that.

She interrupted:
You have graffitti everywhere,
he as portraits.

She ruined
her student,
couldn’t save him.

He splashed
his likeness everywhere

The police
identified him
by his lost face on
every façade that
neighbors hated
—- Douglas Gilbert

[see New York Times, July 5, 2007, “Seeking New Leader’s Persona In Turkmens’ Murky Isolation,” by C.J. Chivers, pp. A1, A7 ]