Liber Jonae



I've heard quite a bit, said Marguerite,
About what a hip, hotshot prophet
And prognosticating operator
God-driven gadfly bites made you into,
And yet I haven't heard much of futures
Not already claimed by public domain
And factored into prices markets ask
After rumours of quakes are set aside
And they downgrade reports that oil's been struck.
I thought you'd give me the insider's scoop,
All the new science, all the new trends,
All the new futures not yet released.
Instead I get a knowledge so common
It's out of fashion, already old hat,
Already discounted, marked down to cost.
I see no arbitrage here to be had
And little room to hedge by selling short.
Sackcloth, I now learn, is just a bust
And Nineveh's doom due no time soon.
I've heard nothing new that impacts my life.
When, for example, do I dump Armand
And find a man who better meets my needs,
A wealthy man who's tall, handsome and dark,
A well-muscled lover, more responsive,
Better equipped to keep attention fixed?
You don't even have a clue, do you?
I'd get fresher, more current news
Just by looking out the nearest window.
I'd reap more future with a weathervane
Than with what little sense your speech conveys.

But I've far bigger fish to fry than that!
I'm no penny ante reader of palms,
No two bit fiddler of horoscopes
That put horny women in pairs with men
And show a destitute fortune reversed.
Let rock hard Mars transit wet Venus
Without direct divine intervention.
Your petty love life and pocket change
Can follow their fatelines unchaperoned,
Unsupervised by djinn-fed foresight.
There's no need to get a prophet involved
In such low level and local visions.
I see big pictures, large scale effects,
Global perspectives and overall views.
I see worlds spun up from quantum flux
To speciate, flare with complex longing
Before they sputter and fade and wink out.
I see heroes pause, look overhead,
And drop the horns they'd raised to lips to blow.
I see tribes gather, arm themselves, march,
Converge on where their ancient foes have slept
Wrapped up in blankets against growing cold.
I see djinn cower in thunderheads
Before they let loose reins on dead steeds
And fall to earth as scraps of scripture verse.
I see comets buckle, struggle upstream
To where high peaks part and glaciers melt
To drape stone slopes with snowberry eyes.
I see the christ and antichrist collide
And together slide down the final chute,
The pleasure-slicked birth canal, in reverse.
They hold hands, sail over lover's leap,
Annihilate the last hermaphrodite.
This is what I see behind eyelids,
What I see displayed on the night within,
And all this vision gets brought to bear
On the one future I've made my life's work.
All these portents fit into place
When mapped onto events that now unfold.
I've specialized in Nineveh's downfall
And so none should doubt when I clearly state:
This town is fated, is destined to die.

But that isn't really worthwhile news
Unless you state exactly time and date.
All things will end, cities too, but when?
Our lives are short but they're not short enough
To throw away when Chicken Little comes.
All things die, wear out, turn to trash.
Don't waste brief time watching waste made
When all is waste, or nothing is, or both.
We don't need vague news of finitude;
More use accrues from tips that give jump
On which horse will win the derby laurels,
On how superbowl point spreads are fixed
By cigar-smoking cabals behind the scenes,
On which real estate it's now wise to buy
And which precious metal it's time to sell.

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