03 February, 2017

Day 13 into the Burning of Rome (poem)

We are digging around for answers.
smoke and ash make it difficult to read the etchings.

Somewhere over the ridge
a child is drinking dirty water.

Pale hate marketeers are pedaling contaminated snake oil
to combat the accompanying stomach illness.

Only the preachers and paleontologists know
the answer is in the dirt.

The Sisters of Perpetual Consummation are in the temple taking on new parishioners
for less than the usual market value of pearl-esque flesh.

Corporate Grand Wizards whisper their secrets into the ears
of corrupt mistresses who, for a few strips of half-rotted meat
and a few sips of stale beer
will sell your soul to the highest bidder
and auction off your testicles
for mothballs and a mouthful of pre-apocalypse scotch.

Teflon-suited oligarchs march forward
carrying on their war against the unsightly poor:
they declare new operations against Appalachia

while self-appointed store-front charlatans
(posing as holy men) proclaim their gospel
for a perpetual tithe of ten percent
and the choice of congregants' virgin daughters to bed.

The preachers and paleontologists make some progress.
They've called in a small group of esoteric linguists
and neo-formalist poets to aid in some of the translations.

But the work is slow and filled with delays.
The road between the dig and the camp is littered with shrapnel
and the giant rusted bones of all our fallen deities.
And every few miles there is a new toll to pay.

There is talk of moving the camp
but all the translators have gone on a hunger strike
and no one can establish a quorum.

And no one has the audacity to simply stay.
(They exchanged their backbones for exit visas.)

The truth is in the dirt.
Every morning is spent removing the mud
from the previous night's damage
and tracking the inevitable erosion.

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www.amazon.com/author/mickparsons
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