patriots and martyrs wait tolerantly
along the crimson carpet
hemmed in by velvet ropes

far along down the sidewalk
tawdry neon boasts your name
beneath mortified twilight

your office is a seedy affair
filled with emptied wine bottles
and dog-eared thesauri

catering to common vanity
you embrace them all as conquerors
ascribing tenuous nobility to their deeds

your songs lack veracity
depreciating the blood of true heroes
with loquacious promiscuity

[Lee Clark Zumpe, an entertainment columnist with Tampa Bay Newspapers, earned his bachelor’s in English at the University of South Florida. He began writing poetry and fiction in the early 1990s. His work has regularly appeared in a variety of literary journals and genre magazines over the last two decades. Publication credits include Tiferet, Zillah, The Ugly Tree, Modern Drunkard Magazine, Red Owl, Jones Av., Main Street Rag, Space & Time, Mythic Delirium and Weird Tales. Lee lives on the west coast of Florida with his wife and daughter. Visit]

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