Mao Disinterred

no stone to roll away
from this concrete mausoleum

Just a queue of a hundred believers
Eager to step over the thresholds
and gaze at the sallow, waxen face
of their old master
lying supine in his treacherous coffin
atop a cool slab of the blackest granite.

Still sent out to work each morning
Battalions of soldiers
guard his crystalline sarcophagus.
Keep moving they urge
Eyes villainous,
to linger is a crime.

The bravest drones kowtow
the Great Helmsman
While others wave their little red books –
the Gideons of another revolution.

He sleeps uneasy in that cool hall,
kept steady at eighteen degrees
Frozen in time ad nauseum
like a grim fairytale, yet
destined every afternoon
to retire
like a hunk of vintaged shank
to the coolest recesses
of China’s grandest fridge.

A Tussauds’ corpse,
harmless as a paper tiger
bounded by plastic flowers freshly picked:
once we’re through they will be ferried back
to the kiosk
to be resold
to the next unwary buyer

because even in death
the East’s greatest con
lives on.

Ben Barton

If you've any comments on this poem,  Ben Barton would be pleased to hear from you.

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