Liber Jonae CAPUT NINE Page BETH


A gadfly venom lacks the enzymes,
The corrosive spells that open cell doors,
The passwords that grant global access
And give entrance into the treasurehouse
In which all the divine commands are stashed.
And there's many causal subassemblies
That lack all relevance to tasks at hand
And whose keys, therefore, remain withheld.
Don't ask the Lord's messenger for data
On the cross-pollination of date palms
Or where to rent a dozen folding chairs.
Look it up instead on the internet.
Omens tell you what's needed, no more.
Take what's given and then extrapolate
To learn the course of action sages take.

Extrapolate, parrot? How? Be precise.

Don't buy real estate with borrowed cash:
That bubble will burst when walls collapse,
When tornadoes tear your shingles off
And cesium taints tips of dinner spoons.
Retire your mortgage, sell off your assets,
And don't, Marguerite, take on new debt.
Only fools make plans when God is riled,
When heaven sends hints a future is blocked.
Shovel away that mound of dead doves
That drifts a cubit deep above your car,
Above dooryard, step, driveway and walk,
And try to put aside the thought that comes
Maybe it's best just to call in sick,
Maybe it's not now good to go out.

You don't listen, you one circuit wonder!
Nineveh's current existential plight
Is worth only passing mention at best,
And Godhead's law, if stacked up against
The latest score, the latest star divorce,
Isn't worth the air that it's chiselled on.
If there really were some story here
Cable network vans would ring us round
And hang their microphones above your beak
To transmit each word by satellite.
Behold, parrot, an empty parking lot.

True newsmen, if any such exist,
Can work from home and file reports from there.
They need only inspect beneath their feet
To learn their city's true situation.
Nineveh, like the distant tropic isles
That generations of shitting birds made,
Sits upon soil made from mine tailings,
Slaughterhouse offal and medical waste,
From dumptruck loads of spoiled fast food
It laid down around its foundation walls.

Quintus is five, there's four more to go.
I think we're still safe for quite some while.

Reigns go brief if Medes roam down streets
And hack off heads if they're poked outdoors.
Five kings, if given five minutes each,
Can take any great civilization
From rise to fall in less than half an hour.

Okay, the town's toast, said Marguerite.
I'll grant you that much to move us along.
Sooner or later the street lights go out.
But what about you, bird? What's your fate?

It'll take some time but I'll get my reward.
After Nineveh falls they'll build a shrine
Atop the mound that filled its spaces in.
They'll bury me there in that holy ground
So that any spade that desecrates tells
To illumine depths with latterday light
Will blunt its blade on intervening bones.
My own remains will block the graverobbers
From toxic waste disposed in soil beneath,
From coins metal detectors mark with pings,
From Ishtar Fishwife in bas relief,
Her sneer astride the wounded cougar's heart
Inscribed upon altars for sacrifice,
From Assur himself, carved out of cedar,
With Zu bites, defense wounds, slashed on wrists.
I'll keep all false idols underground:
Sackcloth ballcaps, whalebone corsets,
And Ashurbanipul's urinal in chunks.
These treasures will never rise, never breach,
Never reach eyes that reconstruct life
As long as pilgrims venerate my name.
They'll festoon rood screens with decayed teeth
Dipped in reliquary formaldehyde,
Molars and tusks they've pried from walrus jaws
And now sell off as mosque souvenirs.
It'll take some time but I'll get my reward.
As long as gift shops stand sacrosanct
And tourist buses jam the parking lots,
I'll sacrifice my place in paradise
To nail down that restless corpse beneath
And make sure it never resurrects,
Never returns to get a second chance.
I'll sacrifice my place in paradise
And plant myself above the Ninevites
Just so they're never again dug up.

Previous Page
Next Page

Previous Caput

Liber Jonae Contents