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This project stole an entire day away from me. I was mugged by the Muse and had to write this poem and then set it to music.

It's not about just one thing, it's about several things. Some will be obvious and much of it will not. I'm willing to bet that there's at least one if not more subjects for this that you won't pick up on. 


Strange Leaf

Turning over the strange leaf
This disease is twisted

Scroll of crisp, fleeting knowledge
Knowledge of fire
Throttle the breath
The king demands to be suffocated
In his sleep

Open the store for business
Give away the store
Surrender the kingdom to foreign invaders
Exposing palace guard
To various and sundry diseases

Each lure is enticing
More flies with honey
Otherwise, who would pay
With their histories?
Draw them all in with promises
Dates, compensation
Envelopes of flesh, pay offs
Reward for job well done
Blown secrets

Welcoming the killer
Taking them in hand
Pressing the lips to theirs

The people marvel, asking... how is it?
That one is so keen on this ruin?
Sitting amid the ashes and smoke
Of everything that has been built here?

These modern assassins
With their blades that are not sharp
And somehow, still cut into the chest

Death hides in expensive papers
Slow poisoning
Curses, binding victims
Black operations
Enchantments of vapor
Fog, happy delusions

The superior general is nowhere to be seen
He is conscious
Too clever
Cannot be made
Knows the angles
Lives and breathes the routine

False front
Encryption easy, plaintext works fine
No one puzzles anymore
Steganography is in the obituaries

Citizens are exhausted
Too tired for such crossword puzzles
Going out for a smoke instead

Trade information
In the marketplace
Bring the defector

Bite down on the dangling bait
Taking it all in
Believing every breath
Of the lies

Hide in plain sight
Got him by the throat
Control every decision

Deep cover
In the king’s pocket
Eight ball, corner pocket

Potentate busy in the honey pot
Playing with the handler’s mice;
Brief pleasures
Foolish pursuits
The intelligence all warned of these things

Plant the propaganda cypher deep
Where invisible moles dig up dirt
Behind enemy lines
Behind the iron curtain
Inside the iron lung
Flimsy robes providing no cover
Leaving your backside naked
Ass hanging in the wind

Summon the executioner
Simple curling of the finger
Roll up the scroll again
Match strike
Set it all off
Breathe in the satisfaction
Knowing operation is in motion
It’s coming soon

Playback is sanitized
Redaction, blot out the salient bits
Stopping up the pipes
Sell the story to the people

Want to play the game
Mutually assured destruction
Broken rhythms, code
Exorbitant bills

Gray sleeper
Uncle should have had the trigger in place
Monitoring the pulse

Cut out
Build up the legend
Elicitation of consent
Keys handed over for favors
Stay on the reservation
Travel in packs

Operative signals
A cough
Run out to the store
Real quick

Dead drop
Delivery of small packages
Spanner in the works
Monkey mouth
Tinkering with toys
In terminal waiting rooms

Going to see the tailor and then
To see the cobbler
Fitting out the gear
Getting ready for the ball
Cinderella stories
Surreptitious flaps, seal the lips
Ghouls scour the graveyards
Where soon enough, all walk

A stainless steel ride
On the smooth train
Smoke stacks churning
Nonstop trip over the river
The L-Pill is long and round
It feels warm and pleasant as it
Sweeps the room...
Never know where the bugs are hiding

The chessboard is covered
With hundreds of rooks
Provocateurs and their purple ravens

Send in the pretty bird
She who swallows the signets
Conversation starters
Asking if she can bum a ride
No one can resist sharing with her
A most deadly resource
Infiltrating deep inside
Her smile
Lights up in the house
Show time
All sing like canaries
Under her spell
All light up with anticipation
We’d lose it all, were it not for her

Lost inside these dark clouds
Hearing that sultry siren voice
Regularly calling us
Out into the open

Always comes
Dressed to kill
In something see-through
How excited each one gets
Peeling off those thin, flimsy wrappings
Hurriedly tossing them aside
For the insanely craved
The fumbling, shaky
Handful of minutes that it usually lasts
Carnal knowledge
Taken inside
Surrendering to the temptations
Wiles of the seductress

Little rituals and pats on the bottom for luck
One is literally turned upside down
Her charm is so strong
She deals in illusions,
Mirages, smoke and mirrors
Her stock and tradecraft

She’s good...
She’s very, very good

Never even questioning the matter
Asses feverishly chasing butts
Into oblivion and ash

Nursemaids gather on the back porch
On every coffee break
Swapping nuggets, juice, gossip, stories
Melodies of the official musicians
Open up the secrets of the music box
Sing the song of familiar comfort
Putting tips into the black hat
Saving up ducats to spend at the commissary

The doctor too, is an asset
Take the medicine
Change in the wind

Even dispersion through the system
Everything flows into place
Pouring in waves
Filling the containers
Enemy assets have infiltrated the realm
Moving now in the open

Friends begin to distance themselves
Seeing the information come out
Noting how the map keeps rolling up
How it won’t stay in place
No one wants all that mess
Rubbing off on them
Second hand knowledge of good and evil

Collateral damage
Innocents... it’s peculiar how they sound
Like innocence, itself
Out of the loop
Not in the know

Once, we too
Were innocent
Now, so much dirty laundry
So many secrets
Deeds that cannot be undone

We were all so green
Initial brush contact

Obsessed birdwatchers
True converts
Believers in the

Now we maintain silence
Unnoticeable tip of the head
From across the room
Stepping out back for a quick exchange
And back in before anyone is missed

Dropping an innocent postcard
From time to time
Till the rough soil
Turn the flowerbeds over
Spread the chickenfeed
Spread the seed

Smoking gun

A bit of dry cleaning
Removes the odors and stains
Burn the microfilm, papers, documents
Bona fides
Take off your shoes... all of them;
Don’t forget anything
Think hard about where
You might have hidden some

Step onto the scales
Feel the weight
Step away
Take a seat, bow out, tap out

The man in the coat and tie
Will be in to see you soon

Too much heat in the kitchen
Stepping back
Away from the blowback
Maintain cover, deniability
Pockets, littered with
Hiding, cooling off in the shade

Double-cross the bridge
A trip to the hospital
Dressed up like a throwaway pig
In a coffin company suit
Book of matches, tucked into the vest pocket
A sequence of numbers inside

Picked up in grandma’s Cadillac
And going to the penthouse
For the all day long
Erase the problem
With assistance from the Dutch

Transfer of power
Change, slight
Sleight of hand
A hand in it

Too many hands

Off limits
Safe house
Tall brown grass
Walking sticks


Hush, little baby
Never heard a word
Assure the dying
All is well

Copyright 2020 Kevin Trent Boswell

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