e m p i r e

by R. B. Morris

kafka’s hunger artist like little jack horner slumped in the corner of
the grand ballroom as endless parades of starlets file past in popping paparazzi lights channeling the great party to all points of the ravaged globe while mad robotic bands on spectral stages explode the night,
their mosh pits swelled and surging offering up young virgins for sacrifice held aloft on fiery hands above the great roiling cacophony
of the age, oblivious to the rabid masses deluging the gates holding
their virtual facsimile to their faces trampling over bodies while they’re being trampled. but don’t be afraid, and let us trudge on another way down roads less taken. our ride will be here soon…


meanwhile back in knoxville where most of this began, where the
mother mountains laid on their backs and whose breasts we now
behold, where the cherokee inked the deal and hank williams and rachmaninoff bit the bullet and dylan dodged it, the sun is rising on aphrodite’s sly smile as she strolls down the street at dawn after a
night of no sleep. and please, another round of whatever they’re
having. and here’s to the new manana, and I’ll see you in the
garden in the wasteland where we’ll put our shoulders to the big
wheel again. another working day. and by the way, the empire has
fallen. long live the empire.


RB Morris is a poet and songwriter, solo performer and band leader, and playwright and actor from Knoxville, Tennessee. His published books of poetry include EARLY FIRES (Iris Press), KEEPING THE BEES EMPLOYED and THE MOCKINGBIRD POEMS, and his poetry and prose tribute to the late Knoxville artist Ali Akbar, WHO IS THIS MAN? Ali Akbar aka Horace Pittman. His music albums include TAKE THAT RIDE (Oh Boy Records) and ZEKE AND THE WHEEL. He wrote and acted in THE MAN WHO LIVES HERE IS LOONY, a one-man play taken from the life and work of James Agee, and was instrumental in founding a park dedicated to Agee in Knoxville. Morris served as the Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee from 2004-2008, and was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2016 Morris was named Knoxville’s first Poet Laureate. He lives in Knoxville with his wife and daughter.


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