Liber Jonae CAPUT FIVE Page HE


Just how lengthy is this curse, bird?

I will not now articulate my list,
Canto after canto of names and crimes,
Each with little illustrative fables
From which useful morals can be obtained.

During descents into infernal depths
Canto composers always overlook
Those spots here and there that stand vacant,
The tracts in hell set aside for themselves,
Perfectly placed to jot out invective.

No, I need not mention all the names:
When you yourself make visit to hell
You'll come upon each privately roomed,
Each in an individual exhibit
Mocked up to resemble a life on earth.
Just read the small sign affixed to cage
To learn their name, diet and habitat.
Feign no surprise if the name Elijah
Will confront you somewhere on your visit's course.
Observe him there in simulated life
Lounging on a bed of his own feces,
By a wallow of self-loathing, self-pity.
If curiosity extends so far,
His keepers can provide you with further facts,
With more detailed documentation.
Note my name at the top of his guest book,
The first to celebrate a justice done.

Do you really think, parrot, that such a one
Would tag wrongdoing with any remorse?

Perhaps a bit, but it's insufficient,
Both before act and after, as reply,
As redress, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.
It leaves the afterlife as last appeal
For any kind of justice for Elijah.
I might launch, I suppose, a civil suit,
Or go seeking damages not by tort
But by means of hydraulic jackhammer
Applied directly to the temporal lobes,
But I would have to locate the culprit first,
Not an easy task with one who sleeps in bush
Wherever blackout overcomes him.
Besides, who can spare the time to pursue
All the revenges that daily stack up?

You're not just a prophet, you're a saint.
And are we finished, parrot, praying yet?
If so I move we say a quick amen
And verily verily move things on.
You said, I think, that a hearse drew up.
Were you thrown in the back, then hauled off?

That was pretty much just what occurred.
The sun, at that moment, was due to rise.
Need a lift, stranger? the driver called out
Or do you lie beside the road by choice,
Just here to do your nude sunbathing?

What? said Marguerite. Now you're naked?

All I had, clothes too, Elijah took.
After beating me, he and his colleagues
Robbed me of my attractive sackcloth coat
And left me to bleed on the gravel shoulder
Beside Nineveh's freeway offramp.
They gave a few extra kicks to my side
After learning I was indeed flat broke.

But how petty! How unsportsmanklike!

There's no referee to call a foul
When the winners go to loot the losers.
Destitution can provide no defense
Against the might of man's unrighteous greed.
Will not the wolf in hunger always choose
The least combative lamb in any flock?
Like water seeking channel downward,
Power always chooses the easy path,
The nearest nest with unprotected eggs,
Soil already loosened by other force,
Doors already broken by other thieves.
Indeed, poverty, far from a safeguard,
Offers power open invitation
To further, more thorough exploitation.
The scattered sheep from time to time will hear
The calls that urge the flock to reunite,
Band together to better protect all,
But not until huddled back together
Do they learn that these calls come from wolves
Who find it easier to cull than hunt.
A fellowship among the victimized
Confers the chance to moan in unison
But not much in way of revenge achieved.
And so it is that the Lord has favoured
A citizenry that carries sidearms,
Licensed or unlicensed, concealed or not.
Loaded handguns promote civility;
They deter many petty transgressions,
Remove from both discourse and gene-pool
The more obnoxious of malefactors.
Vengeance is mine, points out the Godhead,
But, on the other hand, much can be said
For vigilante action, swift lynchings,
A single shot fired from a Beretta nine.

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