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After Nero

We play music, write poetry, dance

on the rooftops of Rome, Aleppo, Dallas

and in the stinking latrines of refugee camps

we read Homer, Dylan Thomas, Khalil Jibran

in danse macabre we imitate Nero, ostriches, lemmings


Amidst the performances of flamingos and butterflies

and in the klaxon music of vultures and hyenas

we open our prayer books, sing hymns of devotion

mouthing and re-mouthing commandments

we don’t understand, yet rule our tempo, our tempers


We dig into the litter of operas that came before ours

searching for golden goblets  made by wise fingers

for love letters written to the future in some prehistoric dawn

our metal fingers scratching empty melodies in foreign sand

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© Johnmichael Simon



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