Liber Jonae CAPUT FOUR Page TETH


It's not, she said, because we overeat
That Ninevites have grown so rotund.
It's due to bad glands or too few gyms,
To airborne bovine growth hormone,
Bottle-fed babies, no cheap carrots,
Too few diet pills that really work.

You consume, Marguerite, just to forget,
Not just forget, but forget you forget.
You're like fat Godhead in that respect,
Although I'm sure he too denies the fact.
Such corpulence wouldn't gall so much
Were I less gaunt, more padded myself,
More muscled and fleshed in prime locations,
The high-priced cuts, the abs and biceps,
The buttocks and shoulders, drumsticks and thighs.
But my campaign to save Nineveh's youth
On this occasion provided me with no yield,
For every garbage can found was bare.
Either trucks had come and emptied the cans
Or other, quicker tongues had licked them clean,
And left nothing for God's emissary.
But then, passing across picnic grounds,
I came across a large wicker hamper
That sat unattended upon a bench.
Inside the hamper was, I quickly found,
Cold fried chicken, a potato salad,
A loaf of bread and three bottles of beer.
Then I experienced a great epiphany
That opened up seals, ripped away veils
And parted curtains to reveal naked truth.
And it lasted a moment, this perception,
Before fading like a departing dream.
But before I could forget I jotted down
A few notes on what I thought I had seen.
On later inspection these notes would prove
To comprise an alchemical recipe
Whose sense I have not yet understood.

A recipe? said Marguerite. Please share.
I rarely cook, but I love recipes.
One day, if I can obtain a computer,
I'll scan them in for later reference.

Just read them to me, and I'll remember.
Computers are now unnecessary
For one who commands an electric parrot.
I can also do the cooking, if you like.
Throw away your blenders, graters and woks,
Your microwaves and your convective ovens,
Your food processors and garburetors,
I'll slice, I'll dice, I'll do it all.

Just give me the recipe, said Marguerite.

Move register A to memory, push,
Shift left with carry, subtract with borrow,
Jump if not zero, otherwise loop.
Set the most significant bit, pop.
Increment A, decrement B, return.
Move register B to memory, push.
Shift left with carry, subtract with borrow,
Jump if not zero, otherwise loop...

You can forget that one now, she commanded.
You can move it to the trashcan icon,
Where would-be cooks dump would-be meals.

Once my epiphany passed I found myself
Gnawing on a spittle-flecked bottleneck
Sobbing, laughing and rocking back and forth
Sending up prayers to provident God,
He whose bounty coughed up cold chicken,
To stretch forth his mercy above my head
And airdrop soon, somewhere nearby,
Something with which I might open beer.
It's true what they say, that God provides,
And yet he gets it always slightly wrong
And delivers too early or too late,
A cubit wide or one size too small,
No mustard, carnations not roses,
A dozen eggs, chicken, not a billion
Laid in dark by insects under rocks.
Not two weeks later in some gutter
I found a corroded bottle opener
Long after it could do me any good.
I threw it into a plate glass window
As testament to the Lord's glorious plan
In close approach to man's petty affairs.
Minor bad timing, major bad luck.
This all occured, I need hardly add,
In the days before the twist-top's debut.
The rage I threw when I heard that news
Shall remain unrecounted for all time.

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