Then and Now and Then Again

The spectral spectrum speculates upon your empty grave
The hectic heckling hecatonchires strikes the knave
The pavement of the dreams of yore smolders still with heat
Drawn from the daylight’s blistered hair and the poet’s feet
Streets begin to see receipt of sleek mystique and more
As Cassius speaks to Cinna on how they both are bored
And so, with Robert Frost and Oscar Wilde still in stow,
Jerusalem and Moscow burn in name of devil’s glow
Who is the Satan of the cause, the soldier serving self?
Is Prometheus his name, or Fortuna and wealth?

Aramaic harvests turn to dust in Daniel’s dreams
As slighted sons of nuns and priests find themselves redeemed
Poor, what for the Moors have done, ask Othello there
When Judas and Iago plot to build their fellow’s flair
With flares and fares and fairs so fair, the chain gang does beseech
As Jean Valjean looks to the throne of Jean-Armand du Plessis
“Richelieu, bold Richelieu, the cardinal sin is yours”
Speaks Ronald Reagan to the Pope upon the Senate floor
Who could have known, the gambler asks, looking to the sky
That Zeus and Odin made a pact upon the day they’d die

Lightning born to cosmic might, of Thor and his frank kin
Is summoned and is captured by malicious Ben Franklin
As Roosevelt, the elder one, shoots Fidel Castro
The warmongers and firemen put on the vaudeville show
Charlie Chaplin, Karl Marx, and Einstein march in tune
To Isaac Newton’s organ played in the deadly zoo
Shaka and the Zulu tribes put on their suits and ties
For the ball held by all the Rockefeller types
Frederick Douglass takes the shape of Simon born as Peter
As Josef Stalin grapples with the western theater

But telling to Rapunzel as she journeys to the bar
Is that the Prince of Thieves of Hearts is waiting at her car
Jesse Jackson takes his suit and throws it to the wind
As Adam West and Adam Smith discuss their many friends
The casket for the General, known to most as Caesar
Is packed into the crowded room so all may see his seizure
Facts of fax machines and faces of the night
Are displayed upon the screen of German fright and flight
The Bloody Baron takes his plane and flies it to Montana
And has a drink with Bob Dylan who changes all the channels

The Green Hornet and Tonto take a cue from Mister Rogers
And steal the zeal from all the fans of the missing Dodgers
In some place, in some time, Rimbaud and Verne have doubt
And close the book of now and then and wander all about
It matters not to Vonnegut who speaks in boldest words
As Bull Connor and Dick Cheney shoot the helpless birds
With empty fists and gentle hands, Atticus misspeaks
As Captain Kirk joins the circus and becomes a freak
Billy the Kid and Jack the Ripper rob a Wal-Mart store
But Dorothy returns her shoes and wishes nevermore

Only known to Mao Zedong, the gremlins burn the mast
Of the flagship and the crew of Kremlin and its past
As Putin sings to opera fans and Winston takes a bow
You wonder as your grave is filled if “then” is still your “now.”