Adele Bloch-Bauer

Luna moth dances in flame,

A flamenco harlot with pieces of skin falling off,

Precious flakes of gold leaf

That dot a canvas of Austrian decadence.

What hieroglyphics adorn the banks of Wall Street?

Faceless drones in business suits

Stare out of large picture windows,

Fueling themselves with copious amounts of coffee

And looking down upon the waves of human refuse

In the streets below,

Upon whose backs the very idea of commerce was built.

Ah, Hamilton!

Scrappy young ruffian of the West Indies,

Who drank ale with his buddies in the stables of a tavern

That was burnt to the ground by the Redcoats

In 1776.


Q: What do you fear?

A: The future.


The tall buildings are like universities, temples,

Here to Athena, there to Poseidon,

One to Ares, god of war

And fallen men,

The walls of which run red with blood,

Polluting the waters from the Hudson Valley

To the Schuylkill River in otherworldly Pennsylvania,

Where fearful Quakers who wear their hearts on their sleeves

Prophesize impending doom and the Judgment Day.


Mosquito helicopters

Patrol the jungles of Vietnam.

Below, an army of sad young men

Trudge through the muck and the mire,

Their thoughts littered with Coca-Cola

And the Amish controversy.

Lifting the scales of justice above their heads,

They walk, like Christ, towards their execution.


In the back of a cinema

Somewhere in Nebraska,

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas laugh at the latest news from Pyongyang

While two adolescent boys pass a flask of wine between them

And discover themselves (and each other) in the darkness.

It’s autumn somewhere, and the dead leaves fall from the trees

With the intensity of bombs.

On the distant shores of Concord, Mass.,

Thoreau drinks himself blind,

Waxing poetic about the stars he sees

From the front porch of his squatter’s shack.


Praise be to Soren Kierkegaard,

Who foretold of an era where nothing ever happens,

Yet everything is recorded.

© Chester Sakamoto