Liber Jonae CAPUT FOUR Page JOD


Perhaps, parrot, you just ask too much.
Your expectations are set too high
For any God, however great, to match.

If I'd settled for this world as-is,
Half-baked, out of kilter, gone awry,
I'd be a mystic and not a prophet.
Prophets don't reconcile, don't adjust,
Don't make allowance for matters of fact.
If Godhead and world can't get in sync,
Both intractable and unwilling to yield,
It's my job to make all realize
The time for patience has now come to end,
That one of the two will just have to go.

Such prophecy only goes so far
Before it breaks apart on waves of noise.
It looks to me as if both go on,
The one pulling left and the other right,
So that hand in hand they both go straight.
It looks to me as if both go on
And it's those who balk that get left behind.

And so I drank not of the bottled beer
And ate not of that potato salad
Nor chicken pieces aligned alongside,
Having no time before those appeared
To whom that picnic basket belonged
And forced me depart that place forthwith.
This luck, I later learned, saved my life.
The salad's mayonnaisse dressing had turned
And was, though fair in aspect, tainted.
The fried chicken I mourned ever after,
For I never properly said goodbye.

Long farewells tend to bore me, she said.
Was it takeout chicken? If so, the brand
Would be, to me at least, useful knowledge.

Does anyone fry their own chicken?
It's lost art. How could you, in your home,
Add to the batter the correct proportions
Of monosodium glutamate and salt?
Your parrot could instruct you, of course, if coaxed,
Even perform the food preparation,
But takeout is far less bother and mess
And also, generally, less expensive.
I didn't recognize the chicken's brand:
Depicted on the coated paper containers
Was a smiling, bearded homunculus.

What, said Marguerite, is homunculus?

Just as a child will be father to the man,
An homunculus is uncle to the monkey.
Monkey? Sorry. Angel, I meant to say.

As a definition, said Marguerite,
I must class this unsatisfactory.

Consider it, instead, as a pronouncement,
As a cryptic oracular utterance,
The sort of thing that God's prophet might say
When unwilling or unable to speak
Directly, in clear, to the topic at hand.
In this case, with respect to tainted food,
Litigation is not out of question.
But I think that's enough of a rest stop.
Let's push on, slouch forward the beast
Past multitudinous roadside shrines,
Crosses that mark places someone died.
I mean all those arbitrary points
Now deemed holy ground, often for months,
On which are draped the plastic floral wreaths,
Testimonials in indelible ink,
And photographs that shrinkwrap keeps fresh.
They stand solemn watch, accusatory,
As if it were me that crossed the line drunk
And drove right through space that the cross has marked,
Out of flesh and substance into glory,
And left my loved ones behind me to grieve.
But life goes on, memory soon fades,
And mourners turn aside from crossover,
And those crosses made from surveyor stakes
Get caught up in teeth of mower gears
Of tractors road crews use to shave verge
In years our Lord allows his grasses growth.

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