So say you, parrot, said Marguerite.
I've seen guys like that who sit in bars,
Too numb to sense much of anything
That isn't two sizes larger than norm.
From time to time, as routine might permit,
She poured me looks with bats of coquette lash,
With pouts and smiles that didn't hit their mark,
But went too high, a little too left
From where such attention best finds roost.
My left pocket, the place I hid my cash,
Was what, it seemed, aroused the hot desire
That drove the tassels with such urgent speed.
She must've noted the wad of banknotes
From which I took a bill to pay for beer
And marked me the most likely candidate
For her overstated, misdirected charms.
Did that stripper moonlight as harlot?
No other woman would deign to register
Anything but complete indifference
At the prospect of my sackclothed person.
The woman in the next booth stood as proof,
Or rather, she sat as proof, her back turned,
A sleek beauty who spared me not a glance
Despite the frequent looks I cast her way.
My displayed wealth must not have caught her note.
Or maybe she did see those banknotes,
Said Marguerite, and had come to conclude
That men like you are just not worth it.
But men like me possess, Marguerite,
Short patience for this inquitious town,
Its thirst for domination, its pretence,
Its corruption, its half-cooked hamburgers,
Its cold and insensitive womenfolk
Who assess net worth with a single glance.
I lack patience with women ruled by look,
The calculated exchange of appearance,
The estimation that sips and spits out
Surface value, depth left untasted.
I lack patience with the impatient regard
That meets my image, then shoves it aside,
Looking past for the better view beyond.
Prophets will never earn a second glance;
Their unfashionable sackcloth garb
And ash-smeared faces and unkempt hair
Negate the need for deep calculation.
They are not desirable acquisitions.
What yield could such men ever achieve?
A moral victory, pyrrhic victory,
Or any insignificant success
A prophet might reasonably expect to gain
Is clearly not sufficient for these girls.
Cheerleaders and daughters of cheerleaders,
These silky, gene-crafted beauty queens,
Always cheer and always choose a winner.
Better that losers do not reproduce.
Is it so shocking so many prophets
Are driven to strange, desperate perversions?
Recall the fate of the prophet Isaiah,
Pulled off an embrace with a metal box
That he mistook for some curbside hooker,
Then charged with interfering with the mail,
Eventually undergoing electroshock
And ending a career of early promise
Strapped to a bed and staring at the ceiling.
Some say that he should have seen it coming,
But hindsight is forever twenty-twenty.
Yes, it's only the true prostitutes
Who will make time for prophets: a half-hour,
Or fifteen minutes will usually suffice,
The fee in question payable in advance,
And then they too move on, unsated.
High cash flow will require turnover.
If the women only knew my net worth,
They would not dismiss me so easily.
Net worth was a meditation topic
On which, in fact, I often came to dwell,
One on which I had proved myself master.
The calculation of monthly interest,
Compounded daily, at variable rates,
Had become an effortless task for my mind.
And I'd never before shown such skill,
A clear sign of the great work in action,
That transformation to my present state.
Liber Jonae Contents