Of Hope and Dinosaurs

written by

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Always, we searched in the stone river,
while the slaughterhouse was waiting for us,
long before we turned the saccharin of words
into inflammable brawls. Full of ancient gluttony,
we have fed our appetites, eating with hasty mouths
what was meant for our own Passover.
It is thus that we shall be remembered:
the curse on the bellwether, crumbled destinies,
although it was possible, once again,
like some extinct creatures, to wish for another life.
After the charnel house, what was this green pasture
we were promised, when impatient like thirsty cadavers,
we hurried that morning to crown the new emperor,
who was really unveiling his ancient lust?
Even so, someone was saying a new king deserves
vestal virgins, white roosters and the finest harvest—
a crest on his head woven by our hands,
using the most precious leaves; an aged wine
offered to a Messiah, only to be deceived by the false crown
in his teeth, soon after we had silenced the red barbarians.
The chosen was what we could have been,
but since we have only one story to tell:
whether it be of The Athens of West Africa
or the song of the Wretched of the earth—
in our font of secrets, where we change
the name of Christ with our miscreant voices,
—always this ridiculous viaticum—
let us now imagine the face of a different Messiah,
touching his gown with our bloody hands.

© Syl Cheney-Coker