Thus sang the bard: The Love Song of the King of Ithaca:

I.
The people of Ithaca worship I,
Gazing upon the TVs and computers lit up like sky
Like patients etherized upon dining tables;
And I guide them through half-deserted streets,
Ever muttering my sweet entreats
While hiding my steamy nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust bars, honky tonks littered with peanut shells:
The few righteous left attempt a tedious argument
Of pious intent
As if to lead me to feel mercy for the overwhelmed . . .
Now you ask me: “What is it to be King?”
Let us go and make our visit
follow me .

In our holo-deck foglets come and go
Talking of Michelangelo
The yellow fog of industrial waste– it pants on window-panes,
The yellow smoke that kills Ithaca groaning in birth-pains
Toxic flames lick like rabid fakirs into corners of the evening,
And government approved sludge slides into pools,
And I let soot fall from industrial chimneys,
Enjoying finery made by poor foreigners under the table on the cheap,
And yet see to it that I’m reelected come each November night,
With the people curled about my finger–in their delusions, asleep.

And indeed there will be time
There will be time to murder and sublimate,
Every last one of the Plebs who work and toil with hands
That live and die just to fill their child’s plate.
Plenty of time to rule by force or coersion
the masses confused and locked in indecisions,
…so long as the righteous are polite
and the prophets withold their visions.

II.
Mayhaps there will be time
To wonder, “Do I care?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and offend this unjust affair,
With a bald spot where once there had been hair–
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
And what has been called the fore-ordained order?
In a minute there is time
For a decision which could much evil reverse.

For I have known greatness already, known riches all:–
Have known the evenings, harems, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with silver spoons;

Then how should I begin
To spit out all the cigar butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume
That not under a worse tyrant than I the system resume?

Am I a Prince Hamlet bent towards bloody justice
that ends in only tragic silence
To end one type of cruelty appeal only
to another kind of violence?

Am I form of prophet a lonely voice
in the wilderness to Gods be wedded
and divorced of lust only to be beheaded?

No. I am but a Fool.
I grow old . . .I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

I will grow a poet’s beard and heed what the children teach.
I will drink from the beggar’s flask, write sonnets on the beach.
I heed the gandy dancers singing, each to each.

And what of the sailors? Those laborers at sea?
I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Going off to fight wars I started and not coming back
And when they do, their hearts oiled black.

III.
Mayhaps I will linger yet at the altar of Me.
To enjoy my victory wreaths and wealth and reknown
Lest human voices wake me, and then surely I drown.

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