Liber Jonae CAPUT ONE Page SAMECH



_____SAMECH_____

Just where are you going with this, parrot?

My intent is to establish the relevance
Of all my remarks at some later date.
How much later is beyond conjecture,
Beyond all possible human knowing.
It may arrive, in fact, so late in life
Demand for relevance will have spent its force,
So that the patience you must cultivate,
If you wish to see things tied together,
Will be highly rarefied in its nature.
But for now, let me offer you this advice:
Pay the man what he asks. I'm worth it.

I can only agree. How does one price
Asked the pawnbroker, the priceless?
Never before, in a long career of dealing
With high quality merchandise only,
Have I encountered an item of such worth
That I would be reluctant to affix a price.

And just what the hell is this tag then,
I said, that you have tied tight to my leg?

The parrot's rather dusty, said Armand,
As he examined the price tag on my leg.
It must have sat on the shelf at least a year.
Is there a fast forward or a rewind?
And what about the parrot's power switch?

I'm fully automatic, plug and play.
On off is obsolete in platforms
For the operating system software
That manages modern handheld parrots.
Your brain lacks the requisite skill and speed
To judge when my presence is necessary.
I'll decide on and off using heuristics
Your human intellect cannot fathom,
Algorithms so subtle, so complex,
And so remarkably elaborate,
Your eyeballs would flip sunnyside up
Should you attempt to duplicate their art.
I possess the proper degree of detachment,
The right long-range economic models,
The multiway decision trees required
To maximize payoffs at each turn.
Where you would choose a tasty goose dinner,
I choose the everlasting golden eggs.
Fast forward and rewind are likewise
Too demanding a task for your slow wit.
Relax yourself, settle back on the couch.
Once my fertile imagination is turned
And exposed by the plowblade of attention,
My orchards shall appear of their own accord,
Untended trees thick with plump olives,
Grapevine-entwined, lavish with foliage.
I create for you gardens of paradise,
Inhabited by dark-eyed maidservants
Who shall swiftly address every concern.
No more struggle and no more effort:
Decision-making, for you, is history,
Once you have gained title to my services.

...And so I set, in an arbitrary way,
A price of only five quintus pieces
For this priceless, mellifluous assembly
Of plastic feathers and transistors and lies,
My only boon companion now my wife
Suffers the terrible, terminal stages
Of a costly, mysterious, wasting disease...

We don't converse, the two of us, ever.
And whatever it is, I told Armand,
That this costly wasting disease wasted,
It's surely not his super-sized wife.
Although she is, of all the Lord's creatures,
Least likely missed, least essential
To whatever the providential plans
Our ever-scheming Lord has put in place,
Far from dwindle she grows ever larger.
Her bulk has blown so great it blocks light
And casts so black a shade underneath
It kills the vegetation yards around.
She suffers a peculiar combination
Of alcoholism and great obesity
Unencountered by science up to now,
And what astounds doctors assigned her case
Is that, although she's reached that coma
That comes to brains the law defines as dead,
She yet retains presence enough of mind
To find, confiscate and quickly consume
Any least scrap, crumb or mote of food
Within range of energetic waddle.



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