Poem: The Man with the Golden Gun

The Man with the Golden Gun

Photograph of photo by Platon
All summer
Gaddafi has sneered at me
from my bathroom
countertop

Sometimes I lay
my hairbrush there
on Platon’s photo
in a 2011 New Yorker

At times I wonder
why I decided to sit
with this visage
all summer

Grizzled face
defiant worried brow
dark wiry hair under
a dark wool hat

Now out of the frame
a brooch of dark Africa
appeared earlier that year
on the cover of Time

Forty-some years ago
he helped liberate Libya
from monarchy
build Arab unity

He enriched his people
favored his friends
then towered over and tortured
a whole country

The photo with the silk collar
and the charcoal stubble
was made before
the bullet to the head

Which came after his people
pulled him from a culvert
beat him to death
sodomized him with a knife

Seized the only justice
they could see
and held up his golden gun
for the cameras

© Eileen Ridge 2013