Liber Jonae CAPUT FOUR Page MEM


Drunk driving, of course, is always despised
Except by those drunks that pursue the sport,
But God hates dancing? said Marguerite.

Yes. Elijah filled me in on dancing.
It's the dance crazes that God hates most,
And every month a new one would hit.
They come to Nineveh out of nowhere,
They take the town by storm and disappear.
All of us, angels included, are baffled,
But this much observation has taught us:
Dance crazes will proceed in a direction
Counter to that the prevailing winds take.
A hand of cards will be dealt the same way,
According to Hoyle, be the card table
In the southern or the northern hemisphere,
Assuming obsevers in both locations
Will observe from above rather than below.
Observing card games, according to Hoyle,
From below the table is rarely advised.
It's not so, however, with dance crazes,
For dance crazes are governed by mystic winds,
Governed by the Coriolanus forces
That twist the waters down the waterspout,
Twist bottlecaps down the bottlespout
And twist the vultures down the vulturespout.
The Twist. Recall the Charleston, the Samba,
The Tango, the Locomotion, the Swim.
An interlocked complex, steps with rhythms,
Appears, flares, fades, and then disappears,
Expires in some ballroom dancing class,
Falters and fails like old, arthritic limbs,
Disappears into the final rigour.
So it is with the wind, according to Hoyle.
But the wind that will appear and disappear
Is not the true wind, nor are dance crazes
That appear and disappear true crazes.
And close but no cigar was the Ghost Dance.
Last dance, slow dance, according to Hoyle.
Imagine, Marguerite, those final days,
Imagine the days of sucking firestorms,
The days of last Rapture, picture the dance
That you'd dance tacking into that breeze!
Convulse, body, as flesh is stripped away!
Shuffle, shuffle off that mortal coil!
Still no cigar, according to Hoyle.

Calm down, parrot, advised Marguerite,
And stop hopping around like a windup.
So what else did Elijah have to say?

How did your mission go? I inquired.

The drive against drunk driving went well;
Much stiffer penalties will be exacted
In legislation now being drafted,
But I ran into some trouble on dance.
My prophetic credibility was shot
After I was arrested for driving drunk,
Caught in one of those random roadblocks,
Made to blow into a breathalyzer,
And led away to a cruiser in handcuffs.
That photograph was in all the papers,
And after that, my career hit the skids.
No one buys dance lessons from a lush.
I then went from just a problem drinker
To down and out alcoholic in weeks.

A concrete overpass overhead
Gave shelter to drifted piles of litter
From strong, relentless gusts of desert wind.
Though I'd have halted awhile, with the trash,
To listen more closely to what the winds,
To what voices on winds, would intimate,
Elijah didn't slacken pace at all.
We were just passing out of the shadow
When Elijah grabbed my arm and pointed.
Let me virgil you down into the town.
It's over there, prophet, the next exit.
And here, oh Jonah, is my first advice:
Don't bother sticking out your thumb here.
Most Assyrians think that a hitchhiker
Is just a murdering thief and won't stop.
The rest, who do stop, are murdering thieves.
This same rule extends to all transactions
With the people who inhabit this kingdom.
Almost all of them will simply ignore you,
Rush right past, avoid catching your eye.
Beware those who notice you, turn and smile,
And offer friendship and hospitality.
Make ready to flee. You are marked as prey.

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