Liber Jonae CAPUT EIGHT Page THAU



_____THAU_____

They might've told you, warned you in some way.

Heaven invented mushroom management,
And I, for one, had had enough of it.
Again and again, the same old story.
Cast again and again in seas for fish,
You'll fetch up that same old Godhead.
And should they ask, What has your Lord revealed,
Say only, The old fictitious stories,
Romances and spicy detective tales,
Legends and myths, outrageous falsehoods.

That's harsh, parrot, very harsh, she said.
Could not the Lord be simply misinformed
Or his predestinations gone amiss
Due to circumstance beyond his control?

An omnipotence is no good at all
If forced to lash out at targets blindly
And fumble forth in search of good handles
And necks on which to get a stranglehold.
Better to have universal power,
Disappointing though it sometimes is,
Than let the world be ruled by local gods,
By nature's forces partly deified,
By half-crippled titans, hamstrung elves,
Lesser sprites who dwell in wells or rocks
And spit a spell for only forty feet.
It may be, as you suggest,
I was, I am, very disappointed,
Although the affair wasn't total loss.
My innermost circle was still at large
And my bomb-making labs were still intact.
If you can't get the apocalypse you seek
Go for next best - damage what you can.
But still I had expected so much more,
Had hoped for one crater that stretched for miles
Not just a dozen little pot-holes.
Also, as I walked away down the street,
I noticed that Nineveh's litter problem
Had grown, in short time, far more serious.
There were scraps of paper everywhere,
In the streets, the gutters and the sidewalks.
They stirred as wind passed, they fluttered in trees.
Some of these were just fast food wrappers
And some were parts of a newspaper page,
Wants ads, baseball scores, comic strips,
And those ubiquitous obituaries.
But others had a shape that drew the eye.
I picked one up and instantly I knew,
As I watched it duplicate, twin itself,
That time had come to leave the town behind,
Impose a quarantine for safety's sake.
Was this just a minor viral infection,
One that passes after plenty of rest,
Or were these final days, the end of time?
Cell fission always reminds me of seas,
The cat-hiss of the surf's dissolving rage,
The resigned sighs of collapsed jellyfish,
The dunes spuming sand through the stunted grass.
And so, quickly, I struck off for the coast.

That's a long walk, as I recall, she said.

Well, I didn't get more than four blocks
Before it had become abundantly clear
The coast lay already beyond my reach.
Fifties now rippled, flipped above knees.
Worse, a black hearse crept up from behind
And honked once as side window rolled down
To show Elijah's face behind the wheel.
He frowned and then smiled, then sped away.
I knew then, prophet that I am, by signs,
That in an alleyway not far from there,
In dark dedicated to Ig-Galla
And laid on some concrete loading dock,
Was the party, partly, of the second part,
A corpse that wore a fine sackcloth coat.
The hearse hadn't stopped, more's the pity,
Since I'd lately learned some new condundrums
That even Elijah's head would get wrong.
Also I now clearly needed a ride.
But swirling fifties soon hid taillights,
And my curses, which trailed, turned and came back,
Gave up their chase and lay down to pant.



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