the poodle-faker

resist much obey little  
Walt Whitman

you never know
what he might be
from day to day
sometimes he’ll say
something to catch you
on the hop
something you night
for a moment
even believe yourself
except for long experience
to the contrary
the following day
he might say the opposite
at the same time
glowing with sincerity
he’s a man of the people
with whom he has
nothing in common
and you know he despises
but he gets away with it
nothing is what it seems
or sounds with him
he’s a poodle-faker
and some succumb:
he’ll tell them
black is white
right is wrong
lies are truth
and they’ll believe
and wag their tails too
mark you
he’s not just
he’s part
of an internationally
select band 
who run the world
they are knee-deep
in gelt –
in gelt not guilt
please note –
guilt’s an emotion
which has no currency
with poodle-fakers
they’ve been
getting away with it
for centuries
and devoutly practise
what they preach





Jeff Cloves

In Jaroslav Hasek’s anarchic novel of 1921-23
The Good Soldier Schweik (Penguin Modern Classic)
Schweik falls foul of political and military poodle-fakers
and defeats them by faking idiocy – and let that be
a lesson to us all


Illustration: Atlanta Wiggs

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One Response to the poodle-faker

  1. jeff cloves says:

    Before he was conscripted
    Schweik’s actual trade
    (if trade it can be called)
    was poodle-faking
    at this he was
    grossly incompetent
    and thus he was not
    ankle-deep in gelt
    and was widely
    regarded as an idiot
    but the novel is moot
    as to whether he was so
    or simply faked idiocy
    he survived the war
    and is an endearing
    and hilarious creation.
    I see him as part of
    ‘The invisible insurrection
    of a million minds’
    and as such
    is a continuing

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