Alexei Panshin's The Abyss of Wonder

Coup d'Etat


Triumphantly you mount your steed
   And parade the boulevard
The trumpets sound and flowers fly
   It's the changing of the guard

Men strew your path with gifts of gold
   As they pledge their loyalty
The table's set and the feast begins
   To celebrate your destiny

You're the chief now and your enemy died hard
The judge wipes a dagger on his cloak
Your hands are clean but smoke still lingers in the air
And liars laugh before you tell your joke

You wave your fist and pledge reform
   But you give stale bread to eat
While your mistress soaks in a golden bath
   Men and dogs patrol the street

Your mustache and your happy grin
   Adorn ev'ry school and bar
But you spend each night in a diff'rent house
   And need a fleet of decoy cars

You wear medals just like your Dad before
He killed a million people in his time
Graves in the highlands and corpses in the sea
He never paid a minute for his crime

The wind whispers of a coup d'etat
   And you feel a sudden chill
The stolen ballots have now been found
   There's guerillas in the hills

The time has come to wave the flag
   And send the troops off to war
But the walls close in and you can't trust
   Your own brother any more

The hour is near when the piper must be paid
The sky is gray and it looks like rain
The lights are out and your bags are packed
The plane awaits, but will you make the plane?

-- by Josh Wachtel and Alexei Panshin
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