“What men truly want is peace,”
Says the last one true prophet.
Peace feels so like submission
Good prophets can fool most men.
For the rest, there’s the hammer,
Followed by a gentle tongue
To sweet-talk the wounds. A tongue
Works wonders keeping the peace,
But wonder-workers keep hammers
Handy. Ask any prophet
Who’s spent some time among men:
Is no humble lamb’s mission.
You must learn to scold in tongues.
The cold acumen cold men
Make war with is of a piece
With the poet’s and prophet’s.
Sometimes words, sometimes hammers,
Sometimes words shaped like hammers
Bring about the submission
So cherished by all prophets,
Heart of gold or golden-tongued.
Submission has a certain poise,
A certain beauty. What men
Want is the same thing women
Want: That is, a sound hammer
Against the skull, and the peace
That sees stars. True submission
Begins in the throat, the tongue.
No God but this. No Prophet
But this. You see the prophet’s
Quite wise when it comes to men:
Simple thoughts in a simple tongue,
And, just in case, the hammer.
Some men call peace, submission.
Some men call submission, peace.
The prophet nods and strokes his piece.
His yes men are on a mission.
Stick out your tongue, says the hammer.
Holly Taylor Coolman
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