“A Sri Lankan Truthsayer” — poem by Alejo Rovira Goldner

A Sri Lankan Truthsayer

We heard the cries of the law courts
as they sank into molasses.
We heard teens sing “Sumer Is Icumin In”
to Muslims locked in wicker men.
And the smoke of the dark burned.
And from the disneymost compartments
of his sleep our Leader moaned
not for Pottersville but Berchtesgaden.
Even the simple among us heard whisperings
of Bring back Robespierre, philosopher!
If America fought Mexico, cables showed,
Mexico would win hands down, in other words:
a hundred jurists sworn to secrecy,
two hundred FBI handsomes
and the Under Secretary of State for Enlightenment
all led us to confirm the obvious:
lamps were going out across the plains.

And so that troubled January of 2020
some of us sought out a seer
Charles Aerdnaissor
a.k.a. the Blind Sleeping Boy of Sri Lanka
a convulsionary who awakens once a year
to hold court behind the curtains
of his four-poster bed.

As disciples took notes
Aerdnaissor grunted and squealed.
His apothegm-loaded voice called out
to our desperate delegation:

—“Why, sirs, your Jehovah is an amateur
easily cowed by influencers
inside the mercantile exchange.”

—“Every book is a dream invented by wildfire
but the horse of wisdom is water.”

—“What happens to the sun’s arrowheads?
They live short lives that burn in your flashlight.”

—“In the womb of every soul sits a cripple
without an axiom to his name.”

—“Whence come the kendo swords of contentment?
Why, sirs, from incense and aloe vera.”

—“Time can be extended or intended.
Contemplate the snows and icebergs of Sierra Leone.”

—“Life is the story of worry.
Pain soup is the center of the early rainbow.”

—“I am the son of puzzles.
I am the parent of puzzles.
In my quiver I house silver bugs
who’ll give their livers for me.”

—“Why do well-fed, unhappy folks flock to this shrine?
Weaklings, all of you!”

Curtains parted
the “boy” poked out his head
(he was over a hundred with a wrestler physique).
Barking twice, he blessed us with a single index finger.
“Open your noses and say tomorrow!”

Three organ chords shook the land
and Aerdnaissor died.
On rain ships they carried him into the monsoon.

His acolytes assured us
he’d only returned to his sleep state
but left these handwritten words:

After the Rage
(and the Rage will come)
flags will congeal, fizzle
into sculpture and sand.
Embers of Crusader gear
will grace the austral ponds.
Waves will die down
and a day will come for the lucky
to start over in caves.
Folks, it’s Year One!
Your fossilized masters
still helpless in molasses
will become the funniest circus acts.

In front of an ancient mirror
a last glass Robespierre
will turn and turn on its music box
like a beloved husband.

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