And so the djinn were talking to you? she said.
You appear to be sceptical, Marguerite.
Yes, I did hear the djinn talking to me.
What were the djinn talking about? she asked.
My head so ached, I'm forced to admit,
I didn't quite catch the point to their talk.
The djinn approach their topics so slowly,
Their preambles alone consuming days
With credits given for quotations used,
Experts consulted, critics paid off,
And they frame speech with such thick accents,
With such odd, melancholic syntax,
Their discourse baffles even the healthy.
And yet I thought I saw themes developed
That constituted some kind of warning,
Advice like that the demons give Greeks,
Or withhold when the time to die arrives
Since it's wasted breath to warn the doomed.
And I think they urged one of those fasts
We holy men are so fond of taking.
Already famished, fevered, destitute
I complied with ease, didn't miss a beat,
Fasted forty more days, forty nights,
Until hunger drove me off the asphalt
To a freeway rest and picnic stop
To inspect garbage cans for contraband:
Fast food cartons, half-eaten candy,
Incompletely drained soft drink containers,
Ketchup packets, crumbs from hotdog buns,
Barbecue ribs only partly gnawed,
The stale but still serviceable remnants
From hastily demolished convenience meals.
These things should, I thought, be kept from reach
Of plump fingers, polyps swollen with flab
Appended to the hands suspended from arms
Stuck out sideways, tangents to the spheres
That represented Ninevite children,
A duty I owed their unfortunate parents.
What prophet would not recoil at vision
Of Nineveh's bloated, obese offspring
Strapped up in gas-guzzling family cars
In size and weight greater and more massive
Than armoured personnel carriers or tanks?
I saw them rumble past, crumbling up roads,
Occupants just giant globular shapes
Hidden behind rose-tinted windshields.
Yet this was enough to expose the truth:
Adults were huge but dwindled next to kids,
And each generation in greed and girth
Exceeded those marks its parents achieved,
Ballooned bellies and expanded waistbands
Beyond any wild expectation
Their pygmy ancestors had ever dared.
It took no prophet to extrapolate
The future these children promised their race:
On each was written its geneaology;
Forehead fat for each child was furrowed
With the unmistakable stamp of the Beast,
And here was charted the progressive descent
From first furtive cell of hungry matter
Down to the last mammoth, rotund blob
That engulfs galaxies with a single gulp,
Wads up the wrapper and tosses it off,
And emits that loud and triumphant belch
That will just have to serve as final trump.
Rise up, ye unblemished dead, and marvel,
For your gifted progeny have outdone you!
There is nothing, not a crumb, left behind.
The refrigerators are dark and empty,
And snack shop shelves swept bare of product.
And it's the heat death of the universe,
The last diabetic insulin shock.
Liber Jonae Contents