Pax Mundi


Mark Andrew Holmes

Behold! The Albatross is on the wing,

Alcyone in all her ancient glory,

Weeping tears of blood at the moiling fires and dense furious conflict so vague and far below,

Chasing a shining but ill-defined mirage glimmering and dancing in mid-air, receding eternally before her

Like the ghost-flag from Dante’s opportunists

(Neither for good nor evil, but only for themselves, remember);

Flying, flying, fleeing, like the butterfly of happiness.

A boiling gunmetal sky, shot through with ferocious barrages of lightning without pause,

Thunder loud enough to jar apart one’s skull, to set one weeping like an infant, to drive one insane;

An icy shrieking thrumming hurricane of a jet-stream, stinking of ozone,

Tsunamis in rapid succession far, far below on the sepia-colored freezing shark-infested ocean, assaulting stupendous black cliffs astoundingly high

Guarding endless desolate plains of pahoehoe slick with blood,

(Thudding and metallic whistling of artillery)

Fields of aa teeming with stagnant puddles where bits of human flesh float swarming with insects and larvae

(Furious combat with knives and bayonets)

Savannas of dusky volcanic soil haunted with vultures, tree branches thick with crows and dangling lynch victims

(Fighting with bare hands, the baying of bloodhounds and barking of Dobermans, smoking chimneys of crematoria)

Shrieks of the combat-fatigued, the flogged and the bombed

(Howls for mercy, vain prayers and strangled agonies rising up in a hollow clamor

From a million hidden oubliettes, as if the Earth herself were keening)

Fetid dim mosquito-tormented wetlands where crabs and fish moil

Among the mangrove roots and water lilies, devouring and being devoured,

(Beneath the rockets’ red glare)

Crocodiles as big as trucks, cruising deceptively for meat beneath the surface

(The monsoon of bombs and endless, endless waves of bombers…bursting in air)

Carpets of soaring volcanoes endlessly vomiting forth clouds of pumice, and sulfur dioxide, and rivers of vermilion magma

(Sobs, shrieks and thrashing of the raped, the roar of mobs, earthquakes;

Hordes of trudging penniless ashen ragged emaciated refugees who fall to their knees and are kicked and trampled

Or pitch abruptly forward upon their faces and are walked upon absently by their zombified mates who don’t notice, let alone care,

Or dance an odd and hideous tarantella, poisoned from within, before collapsing in a heap like a tent;

The silence of the dead or of exhaustion, glassy eyes, nosebleeds, weeping at nothing in particular and insane laughter—

Armies of rats and manifold pestilence)…

A miasma of ptomaine, blood and sulfur filters up through the overcast

To Alcyone, who banks left…

And in the sky before her, a rainbow-hued Flower appears, unfolding swiftly as trick cinematography

Surrounded by words of fire:


© 2004 by Mark Andrew Holmes.

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