A World Aflame

Through the bustling hum of urban clamor
I calmly make my pleasant way.
And the sun, in its celestial glamour,
Glances shafts from pane to pane,
Leaving its bedazzling stain
At the stoop of each quaint café.

The aroma of breadsticks and dressing
Greets me at the appointed place.
There she waits, quiet, but still obsessing
With her shoes, her skirt, her hair.
Warmly, I pull out her chair,
Gazing fixedly at her face.

We converse amid the olive-oil scents,
And the topic seems to hover
On diabolical distant events,
And dark secrets so extreme
They require a wily scheme
To sustain them under cover.

And philosophers and lunatics,
And garish puppet-shows,
And on prophets, seers, and heretics,
And crypts unearthed in Israel,
And sea-borne shells,
And sulfur-smells,
And sterile cells without doorbells,
And rank stairwells to singular Hells.

Here I interject with my opinion
That the world is cheerful and bright.
There are many things in man’s dominion
That are worthy of our pride–

But an ogre, grinning greedily,
Reclines upon a throne,
With his feet shod almost daintily
With purple jester’s slippers.
And an axe lodged in his belly
Wriggles gently with each breath.
And the spear thrust through his heart
Is all that saves him from his death.

In the face of such stubborn overbearance,
I was rendered unable,
Incapable, powerless to clearly think.
I left the lamp-lit table.
Or was I an employer who nully
Releases one who is already out the door?
It was exactly three seconds fully
Until we both were emphatically on our feet,
With boisterous speech,
And heading toward opposite exits,
Each despising each.

The doorframe shuddered behind me
As I stepped into the stealthy shadows of the silent street.
Dark windows reflected eerie
Errant rays of the sinking sun on the path beneath my feet.

Home, I entered with the lights still off,
And rested on my mattress, fully-clothed, my eyes shut.
I saw gold-cuffed men eating from a trough,
And a trembling seraph nursing a cranial cut.

The night besets me; sleep does not; I lie awake,
Envisioning in resolution worlds aflame,
And people swimming in a steaming painted lake,
And rusted, bloodstained guillotines of wide acclaim.
Later, I descend into a fitful, haunted dream
Of madmen shrieking shrilly from the decadent deep,
And of brutish werewolves lapping from a scarlet stream,
Until the gray dawn graciously wakes me from my sleep.

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