1736 c/o Erik Kennedy

The Porteous Riots

To the romancist, to the dramatist, the character of such a man as Captain John Porteous is intensely attractive; even in the graver ways of history he claims the attention imperatively, and stands forward with a decisive distinctness that lends to him an importance beyond his deserts. —Justin McCarthy

They hang you when they hate you, which is no surprise.
They hate you when you shoot them, which is even less.
You shoot them when they riot, which they will
when Andrew Wilson’s just a smuggler.
They loved that man’s big belly and hands.
Not you.

They know when you’re lying when you’re known for your lies,
but are they lies, or just a way to redress
the balance in the battle of free will
against God’s justice’s bravest struggler?
You give orders, and they make demands.
One of you

must be right, must always, always be right.
This is so much mummery. A great
awareness grows of something incomplete,
like a circle not yet a dot.

A summary execution on a sultry night
is just the way to see who’s earned the hate,
to see who knows where ends and endings meet,
to see who’s fucked now and who’s not.