Saturday, January 5, 2013

John Faust's Job Interview




Temptation Syncopation

I have nothing to say of suns or worlds.
I cannot show you the rivers of light.
But a neat white rose plugs my buttonhole
And the chain of being, time’s bauble,
Hangs on a vest with my academic medals.

Come fly on my cloak
Above Blue Earth:
I’ll show you the sights, the local wonders

(My wardrobe’s no joke––
Ermine collar worth
Big dollars––don’t pull on it––such blunders!)

See History performed
By a cast of millions
See palaces reborn
As mansions worth billions

Preview three prescient

Les Miz, Annie and Rent:
Poverty to a tune
That’s heaven sent

Pop opera that’s darin’
In a setting Sub-Saharan

Weary of hoi polloi?
You find their customs strange?
Prefer a ticket exchange?
I’ll see what I can arrange.

Let’s fly higher
Away from the crowd
Up to the stratosphere
Above the uncertainty cloud

Lean over and have a look-see
I promise you won’t fall––
(Not yet; not till it’s meant to be:
The greatest Fall of All.)

Look at shaded topography
Jaded by political geography.
Observe the contours of city and town,
Settlements rising up all around:
Tidy grids and power bids.

Get an education
                                               In prestidigitation.
                                               Distract benighted congregations
                                               Needing basic alimentation
                                               For themselves and
                                               Future generations.


You’ll see how borders
Are made and changed,
How cities are born
And destroyed and renamed.

Germany East and West
Korea North and South
Dresden – shattered porcelain,
Ashes in the mouth

Saint Petersburg, Leningrad,
Saint Peter’s once again;
Tsaritsyn to Stalingrad to
Volgograd: renamed
For Stalin’s sins.

Stalingrad’s a great battle’s name:
Honor’s not for the man who lied
But for the men who fought and died.
And Novgorod’s
A Kievan museum.

Here’s resurrected Karlsbad:
Chic new spa with a new name:
Re-brander’s mind game.

Refurbished baths
For washing away the past
For scrubbing cobbles
Till the water runs clear at last
          New street maps for forgetting
                                              Old streets with quiet trees
                                              Old men sitting,
                                              Rubbing their knees,
                                              Drinking hot coffee
                                              In the autumn breeze

Lean over my shoulder:
Your head won’t spin
As though you saw cascading
White rivers.
I promise that all you see
Will be as true as photography.

See client states
Watch troubled empires rise
On terra firma
Zimbabwe out of Rhodesia
Myanmar from Burma

Iran from the land
Of Arabian Nights
(Bedtime story
Thrills and frights!)

See cartographers’ 
Worthy of demographers’ 

Guam and Wake from Micronesia
Niobe’s Weeping Rock
On Mount Sipylos in Ancient Magnesia
Modern Malaysia from Indonesia

States born and reborn
In a darkling time:
The PRC from a nation
(Corrupted by Europe: divided,

Israel from Palestine,
From re-drawn lines

Taiwan from
Mainland China
Viet Nam
North and South
From Indochina,
French redoubt


See the hungry millions swarm:
Les damnés de la terre
Wretched of the Earth
To you lot,
Prisoners of Care

Did I say prisoners?

Citizens of the world,
More like,
Clients and customers,
They are,
And the customer’s
Always right

Abject migrants
Crossing Earth’s surface
Vandals and vagrants
Without a purpose

Criss-crossing Earth
Like ants on an apple––

(Bad simile, you say?
Scale and ratio off?)

We compare people
To ants every day.
What are you, a teacher–
Or some kind of toff?

Say you like action?
America’s Armada
Gaining traction

See where her navy
In the name of
National security
(Irrational maturity)

Rounded the pillars of
Herakles: the hero
Who knew the shame of
Midlife madness –
What a zero.


Insane Politicians!
What a three-ring circus!
Slather on the make-up,
Besmirk us
With the meretricious art of
Vain morticians

Oh my God!
(Or should I say, omg!)
Under the Big Top
A diplomat
Has slipped from the high trapeze

Did I say diplomat?

I meant an acrobat,
No, it’s––
A ruffled clown
On his padded knees
                                               To appease

And there in the ring
With the Bengal Tiger
A trainer
From Chad,
Or is it Niger?

No matter.
With gore
Was the
Keeper of yore

This trainer?
On the run,
Smuggled guns
And opted to bring
                                              A whip with a sting

Come up for air:
Your head won’t spin
As though you’d burst through
Tumbling white water.
I promise – everything you’ve seen
Is as real as a 3D picture
On the big screen.

Now that you’ve seen
Earthly dystopia,
Want to rule Earth?
(With your myopia?)

Come, be a builder of nations,
Year-round Santa Claus
(A major cause
Of perturbation)

Will you shepherd the masses?                                                                                    
Will you lead?
Wear a crown
Upon your head?

Will you rule them?
Hearken! Take heed!
That great renown
Not cede to dread.

Crown upon head
Head of State
Gem-studded bandage
Wrapped round noble pate

Be their ruler
And requite thee
With wealth prodigious.

With mace and scepter
Bedight thee,
And with tokens prestigious.

And when I lay thee down to rest
In the black velvet night

Dream of a future
Under construction.

In the meantime our lemurs
Will raise your monument.

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