This week, I’m sharing and tearing another one of my own poems, this one is We Killed the Morale Officer in Sweetest Day.

We Killed the Morale Officer on Sweetest Day

Another bland cake

in the employee lounge.

Another pale, dull parade

through the center of town.

Not entirely sure what holiday.

Hard to keep track.

Last month’s

was for the workers,

so maybe this one is

for all the brave

souls in uniform.

Maybe you should just stay

back home for a few more months,

at least until we get a handle on

what’s gone wrong out here.

The coughing is getting worse

and it’s hard to remember simple things;

my high school gym teacher’s name,

the color of your eyes.

All of the tests have been negative.

You’d think all the

celebrations would make it a nicer place –

that everyone would enjoy the days

off of work

but since there’s no children around,

the parades don’t have

marching bands

baton twirlers.

No one runs out

to grab the candy

they throw from the floats

None of the cakes say ‘Congratulations’

most tend to say ‘Good Luck’.

We’re not allowed to light

birthday candles

because of some adverse

atmospheric reaction

but we all make our wishes

just the same.

img src=”http://www.mattbetts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/8f273be5-7844-4357-bbe9-b1eb77381422-1210-000000aa99e454b4.jpg” class=”wp-image-2136 aligncenter size-large” width=”525″ height=”350″>I was inspired by a line from the song “You Can’t Count on Me” by the band Counting Crows. “…I watch the sky, it’s a pale parade of passing clouds…” I thought about taking something so bright and cheery as a parade and stopping it of all the things that made it exciting and fun, making my own “pale parade.”

Of course, the question then becomes “why would someone do this?” “Why have a parade if it isn’t exciting?”

And that’s where I started into science fiction and the idea of a lost city, whether it’s on Earth or not. I guessed the citizens were stuck there for whatever reason, so the government threw parades and parties with whatever they had available.

The title comes from the idea that everyone eventually got tired of bad celebrations and fake holidays and decided to do something about it!

This poem appeared in my first collection See No Evil, Say No Evil and the magazine Kaleidotrope.

Like Poetry Post-Mortems? If you’re a poet, I’d love to feature your work. Drop me an email and let me know you’re interested at mattbetts@mattbetts.com. I’m looking for previously published pieces that a poet is willing to look back on and explain an inspiration, or interesting background, or even trivial bits about the work. Want to dissect it completely? Go for it!