i. once upon a time, there were old gods and new gods. under crumbling archways the divine and the cursed share cigarettes, lighters cupped in their hands. rain pours relentlessly from the heavens, falling to the uneven cobblestone in a sheen of silver spears and smoke. this time, nothing but prayers are shed.
ii. this is their communion: an errant hand brushes against the marbled form of Hades, rowboats rock harmlessly to the temple of Asclepius, feet shuffle across the white line and into the holy land. it is in these moments that solitude begets peace.
iii. angels tuck in their tired wings, roosting on bridges and cathedrals and alleyway corners spun with ivy. amongst themselves they count the crowds that take shelter in their shadows. every day, the numbers swell until even the loneliest of the celestial feel a warmth in their gilded chests.
iv. these same seneschals pour life through golden urns, as they had done eons before the she-wolf who nursed the founders of Roma was ever born. water flows steadily from all four rivers and through the eagle-face spics that dot the roads, blessed by frail, rosary-stained hands. even the Tiber, full of harsh currents and deep embankments, softens under the touch of a child at a fountain. life flourishes. the gods smile.
v. once upon a time, i met these cursed and divine and celestial beings. all lived together in a city as old as time itself, in a city born from clay, then wrought with brick, and finished in marble. and in this place of impossibilities, i found my heart.
i found my home
poppies and chamomile bloomed roads,
covered in warm dust... such a pity
that these are the only ones left
to be pointing towards the eternal city,
where marble and stone still stand
on places gods used to walk bare-footed,
where belief was more than just demand,
until cassocks have had ancient ways sooted.
A place where manner was turned into art
And polymaths emerged from genius creation,
where Latin blood spills from heart to mart
In a continuous state of vibrant elation.
where green is the colour of oils and lust
and the sun can burn to a lemon flavour,
and the sand on the front of the boot is black
and the wine is more than a bitter-sweet savour...
There, where a walk through square paved markets
is bursting with hand-made stories,
where scratching through history's pride
would always end in timeless glory...
I had held myself as a greater man,
A soldier aloof from the whims of life.
The only things I cared for were the gladius in my hand
The screams of my enemies
As their blood dripped from my blade
And they lay clawing at my feet.
I went whoring with the boys
Played with them games of dice
Laughed at their jokes.
It was all lip service.
I did not care for their ways,
The ways of lesser men.
I was a soldier whose only lust was for blood.
I was better.
The new recruits came
With their beardless faces.
They huddled together for comfort,
Some cried to their mothers
Those simpering wrecks were of no interest
Except for one
With the stature of a god
The confidence of a titan
He stood amongst his peers
As a man stands amongst children.
It was not long until we sparred.
As good soldiers there was no need for words.
We both knew what was obvious
What was as certain as life and death
We were brothers in arms
Of the same breed
We were as one.
The fight came.
Outnumbered ten to one
Until blood soaked our faces
Our enemies and our own
Until crimson flooded our eyes
Before night fell we were the only two left
Alone in a field full of ravenous beasts
Of coprses waiting for the crows
Left to rot in some far flung land.
Their gaping snouts salivated
Waiting for the chance to sink their blades into our flesh.
A new emotion filled my veins.
I was no longer fighting for myself
To satisfy my lust for death
But for my kin standing next to me
The god made flesh
It was as we stood back to back
As I felt him stand firm against Fortuna’s whims
That I knew I was finally what I claimed to be
Has made me a greater man.
The sidewalk ends, with a solid solemn note
the purpose has no walls, but has a perfect moat
Birds in the eaves and overhangs, raccoons in the hall
imagination as it flows, or does not flow at all
Dwelling on the the bitter absence of simple electrical thought
some things cannot be purchased, sold, or ever bought
A daydream or a nightmare, solidified by pure control
molding what's at hand, as diamonds, made from coal
String the pearls of all things grasped, and so upheld
as are good dialogues, leading too, a quintessential spell
Hone the blades of heroes, bending edicts and all rules
using words as barriers, against the bravery of fools
I never thought to hold the strings, of all the prose that I have lost
divining a newer better phrase, running up a dire financial cost
Give me back all the discarded pangs, I've left there in my past
conjoining in deliverance, as broken bones in graves, been cast
It's like the final days of great Pompeii. or greater Rome
Nero on his lyre, Pompeii's burned within their homes
Draw the dipped quill across, what is and is not so
gleanings of similar minds, inspiring as it goes
You came to our shores
But long before
Us with war
You stole our gods
We knew not what for.
You dressed them up
With brand new names
Added some paint and
Gave them new games
And this is how
We were tamed
Not with shame
But with the usurpation
Of our religious nation.
We were already in your homes
Bloody martyrs, no longer nomads
The tribes had come together
Tethered to each other within forever
Hungry, but unwilling to be bought
Craving less enslaving
Never reaching what we sought.
We had our one true god
To hell with you and all your pagans
Our souls were purified and no gentiles
Till Constantine combined
The Christians with the pagan mind
And once again the powers that be
Stole and controlled our religion you see.
We were tamed
Not with shame
But with the usurpation
Of our religious nation
Rise! Oh, Mighty Jupiter;
Our Father now forgotten.
Come claim your rightful reverence.
Your pagan pedigree misgotten.
You were once our Shining Father;
Great King of all the Sky.
But you allowed your world to set
so a new Son could arise.
Zeus once ruled before you, and
Jesus became your heir.
Today not many realize
how we got from here to there.
I have considered for some moments
how our thoughts of god do change.
Plural notions of so long ago,
today can seem so strange.
We like to think we've come so far,
since those pagan days of yore.
Have we abandoned superstition
or just embraced it even more?
It was millennia ago
that Zeus ruled Mount Olympus.
He, their leader, more than father,
often beaten by hubris.
The Greeks, they worshiped leaders,
seeking standing in this forum.
Such desires, democratic
became their gods that ruled before them.
As the centuries moved on,
your new Latin home was Roma.
Your title too, transformed
to reflect a new persona.
To Zeus we added "Father",
or in Latin, pater, we prefer.
So Zeus, becomes Zeus-pater,
Zupater, then Jupiter.
Our names for gods reveal
exactly how they fill our needs.
Over time our needs evolve
and so a new name supersedes.
As Rome aged, it developed
a need to know god as a man.
To be one of his number.
To see themselves as of his clan.
This zeus, he can be talked to,
can be greeted and be known.
They "Hail Zeus" as HeyZeus.
And now its Jesus on the Throne.
Through such inquests we can see
the needs Gods fill evolving,
from cold, covetous Kings
to a begotten Son absolving.
We imagine in the Heavens
things to help us understand,
how a universe so endless
can be the realm alone of man.
The napalan man in a violet cape
descended the stair with a lopsided gait
a wretched procession; subscribers in cue
rattling off as they stream from the pew
sounds and smells from a shadowy place
a catholic priest to gin up base
lanterns strung from bolted doors
cobbled streets and wooden floors
stepping stones and iron bells
fortified by the citadel
hallowed halls and sepulcher
dragon cane for horse drawn tours
castle turret, archer holes
centaur scribed in chamber bowls
garden columns in courtyard view
the blood ballet and hullabaloo
ancient tombs on warrior grounds
gods and saints who made their rounds
goliath still with battered scythe
knelt in prayer and mummified
battle fires and crowds that roar
gallows, caves, abysmal war
gargoyles flock the terrace slope
pearly gates to bring on hope
serpents, snakes and burning ash
the lava bombs and trident clash
mariners drift in absentee
as neptune rises from the Tyrrhenian Sea
Do not be baited
Into the notion
Things could be worse
That they are somehow better
Do not give into the idea
That we are somehow past
The mistakes of nations before us
We are always a moment away
From Ancient Rome, fickle and meek
Do not listen to such beliefs
That things will just get better
Hanging onto hope is a stagnant dream
True change is revolution
But they want monotony to be the game