Michael Gushue, p.2


At the battle of Cumae       the wry Laodiceans
Were planning to do       their personal best
And this even though       they were only given
Palm fronds and pieces       of bark for their weapons.

After marking their bodies       in the three sacred places—
And, if they’d had them,       they’d have rattled their spears—
They decided that waving       the fronds about menacingly
Would strike fear in the hearts       of the easily distracted.

Striking their foreheads,       they marched as a phalanx
Behind the Imagists       and apostate Capuchins
Into the pass known       as Schroedinger’s cat
The way one sentence always       follows another.

All set to exhort them,       Sirac drew out his sword
And called to the hoplites       in a voice like a camel:
“Remain indifferent       to politics, religion!
Whatever you do,       keep your head above water!”

A thousand years later,       in the last of the battles
To unify that empire       called holy and roman
The frontal assault       is suddenly confused
By an army dressed       as magician’s assistants.

“Who the hell are you?”       yelled Barbarossa.
He seized the nearest       one by the throat,
With his eyes flashing       from beneath his brow,
And shook him around       like a doughnut of skin.

“None of your beeswax,”       was the crumpled answer,
“Centuries from now       you’ll be remembered
As Snidely Q. Whiplash,       although with red hair,
While we, Freddy, we’ll       be as fashionable as ever.”