He wears that bad badge
to hide the hole in his chest –
can’t tell how black it is,
because no light escapes it.
He’s got a stranglehold
on the lawman’s code:
To Protect (his friends)
and Serve (himself).

He’s got a big belt,
a bigger head –
needs every atom of oxygen.
Should you seek to breathe
without him seeing,
prepare to drown on dry land.
A big need, bigger debt
and we’re all obligated to it.
But ain’t nothin’ returns less
than a Bad Badge.

He flashes that bad badge
and a smile as he ransacks
and – badda-boom –
the property room
is his retirement plan.
His crooked rookery
of broken wings won’t believe
it’s his strings around their feet.
Such pretty birds!

Jail’s full again, it’s true,
but he’ll bring the cell to you.
And you’ll be doing four to six,
sentenced here to his bull-
shift your eyes to the ground
or he’ll post your name
around town.
It’s how he grinds
the good men down
with that bad badge.

He rests his bad badge
in an ashtray on his desk.
He keeps his enemies close
and family downstairs.
The homefront’s under threat –
could get hit any minute.
His first wife left with his first son,
still she prays these second ones
will grow despite his shade
which engulfs and enslaves.

They’ll pay and pay and pay.
You’ll pay and pay and pay.
We’ll pay and pay and pay and pay
and pay and pay and pay
until we find we gave
the whole damn town away
to that Bad Badge.

© 2019.