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It is true what they say about the cataclysm or it is not true, smacking his lips, a trifle overcooked but the honey and frankincense has created a devilish end-of-millennium hors d’oeuvre and the strawberries in crème de menthe with whipped triple sec clotting are decadent, pig eyes looking around for a flask of mead beady as Vesuvius, Chernobyl, carbon monoxide poisoning.
When I was your age Rome was freshly built and rightly so not in one day, there they all were; Socrates, Pegasus, Alexander of Macedonia all struggling in swampy mud, down Scrotum down, give him a bone somebody but not chicken – they splinter into legends, yes I could change the planet’s spin, lead armies into shining conquest, rewrite Homer, Freud – they say that Oedipus slew his father, for what – he was a drunkard – nonsense it’s all a fable perpetrated by charlatans and century benders, he couldn’t get an erection his mother told me in a midnight tryst, water rising Rome, Carthage, Atlantis, all of them sunk beneath the waves.
Nostradamus wrote about it in his seventh journal which was or was never published, destroyed in fire, burnt at the stake or crucified – nobody in those days paid any attention to it – a few earthquakes, locusts, black plague, they were all too busy carrying the bodies off the streets, nothing has changed since then, the writing was on the wall and no-one could read it, in the end it doesn’t really matter, nothing matters – do you know how many of them are out there? Four hundred trillion parsecs and boatloads more of them, yea more fish than you could fry in all your amplitudes, so what’s the difference, a pig’s knuckle, a boar’s head stuffed with artichoke hearts and truffles, what does it matter one more, one less, nobody listening to the warnings, princes, presidents, popes not a one of them in their conferences, their demonstrations of solidarity, of benevolence, pompous noggin beaters all of them, flesh and blood like the rest of us; Nero, Herod, Benedictus ad infinitum, like flesh after a feast, the water’s rising you say, nuclear fallout, polar caps melting, planet out of orbit?
Stop mumbling young man, I say go fetch more food from the kitchen, bring on the pièce de résistance – a roasted phoenix - perfect down to his pomegranate eye sockets, fill up the glasses, drink up, drink up, a toast to Elysium or hellfire, drink up now, there’s more to tomorrow than regret or old men’s hallucinations.
© Johnmichael Simon
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