Issue 156, Fall 2000
The buildings stand, with all intention changed
from what designed and built them—killer ants,
their Gallic genes resembling old blueprints,
by chance achieved the neoclassic age.
But building such a world's beyond them now.
They name their power that of unmaking—
authors of destabilizing force. (Marking
one's time is a kind of genius: Tao, Dow.)
The French can lie, and yet again can lie;
they lie standing or sitting, if so required.
And no penalty for their lies-their true, tired
allies must now bear their discourse. Or try.
The bully comes when you are most vain—
Time's answer to your flourishing. The Doubt
that follows almost father to that gout.
But to ally oneself with time and change,
instead of to resist, is mask, regent—
a flattery of time, betraying real
discourse ... You bend, seasoning the eel,
pretending to yourself you are its agent.