Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Greatest Show on Earth

Sorry this is so bleak and pessimistic...I guess I am in a mood.

The Greatest Show on Earth

"God was led infallibly by his wisdom and by his goodness to create the world through his power, and to give it the best possible form..."
-Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Theodicy



The curtain opens on a crowded stage,
A troupe of players draped in rags as fools,
Their faces twisted in distorted masks,
With bulging crotches or with parted skirts.
Yet wizened, age-bent, crippled by the years,
The centuries that they have lived and bred
Within a haze of pheromones and lust,
Though never draining their virility.

Now watch them stumble, drunken lechers all,
And weave across the stage, more crowded still,
As by the minute more and more walk on,
Crawl over, stand erect, and pound their chests.
And soon one trips and falls, a quadruped again,
Returning to the origins it never left.
Then others trip, making a roiling mass
Of limbs and genitalia, boiling pile of flesh,
Rising and extending in a self-spawned swirl
Of replication for the sweaty glee,
The hint and glimpse of immortality
Within the climax and the little death.

But underneath their beastly grunts and groans,
The sounds of screams and angry cries grow loud.
For here and there, the orgiastic waves
Are parted by the fists and flailing clubs
Of two, then three, then hundreds locked in war,
Their throats torn open by their battle cries--
The mass of flesh divided half and half:
Two parts, one whole: the ecstasy of blood.

And Death, a shady figure draped in bones and skins,
Is striding on to stand at center stage.
It gazes out, though lacking face or eyes,
Then turns its body, points to where the farce
Has entered into this, the final act.

For now two streams are spreading from the pile,
One red, one white, both draining life away.
Yet still the bodies pile higher, farther out,
The overflowing flesh collapsing on itself,
The forms devolving in their lust and war
And spilling over from the stage's edge.

The stage’s wood and metal groan beneath the weight,
The rafters shake and creak, the floor grows weak,
And flames break out behind the scenes:
The whole theater is about to fall
Upon the heads and humping, thumping forms
Now next to formless, shapeless shades like Death,
Amoebas swimming in the viscous streams...

Until the curtain falls, and silence reigns,
And everything is stillness once again.
The curtain quivers, but the troupe has gone...
There is no encore, for the show is done.


Image credit: Andreas Praefcke, from Wikimedia Commons, under a Creative Commons License.