Opus Collocus

1 Nov

by Robert Magill

Look at yourself if you dare.
What strange combination of wild genes
Caused you to end up this way?
How in the world did an otherwise garden variety ape
Make fire, lose sexual restraint
And end up like you?
Naked, with anytime sex and pretty much
Unable to cope.

Now fire’s a bit dicey to handle in a great furry overcoat
So not much happened with it
At first.
But one day some bundles of joy came along
Sans furry coats, they were starkers you see.
The game was on with the fire by then, but
All that bare skin!
My, my, what’s to be?

If it had been only one or two that were weird
The hyenas would have gotten them sure.
Hairless most of the new bunch.
But babies are hard to come by, even strange ones
Really strange as ever could be. .
They were turned inside out more like rabbits or rats
No fur at all we could see.
What on Earth!

What to do? Can’t feed the crop to the beasts.
Besides the mothers were frantic.
“It’s so cute, in it’s way! Don’t harm it!” they say.
So the naked little babes grew into big
Naked adults.
We learned to handle fire by using an old gnu hide.
If you bought into the clothes for modesty fibs,
Nope: barbeque bibs.

And the hairless kids! They all became fire bugs.
You know how dangerous that stuff is!
Well, these devilish kids treat bonfire as a new game
Of child’s play.
But then they need not worry of bursting into flame
Those fur-less little showoffs!
They don’t go up in smoke if they get to close and roast
Like we do.

Those kids started eating all kinds of things that
They’d half burn up on sticks.
The very idea!
I will say many things are quite tasty done that way
But who knows where all this fire business
Will lead.
I for one like my food less done but that said, it’s not really
That bad!

Those new kids gave us fits.
They had acres of lush, soft, silky epidermis and
Full time steamy amor.
No bothersome overcoats. Well just a token patch…
For auld lang syne.
Full time naked sex and the secret of fire would
Give any self respecting parent a
World of grief!

Both things together is a big, big pain.
And it doesn’t get any easier. Slowly, very reluctantly
Began that
Which we long beards knew early on.
It’s time to put on some cover-up to keep order
And peace in the cave.
One word of late does resonate, more often than not it is
NO!

So it began.
The business of the putting-on and the taking-off
Of surrogate overcoats.
Clothes, that is.
Big waste of time and energy
Weaving and skinning and sewing. The rules!
Oy vey. How much, how little, when, where
Ad nauseam.

My part in the story ends about now.
Only a few oldsters remain of the old kind and
That is the way it should be.
Our kid’s, kid’s, kids will follow the thread of time
‘Til they too leave the stage.
But that’s for them to tell of a proud history
If it is now in the main
Unknown.

Hello. I know something of my people to tell you.
We were great travelers and tellers’ of stories
Of oceans and seas in our path and
Mountains at our back.
Rivers of sand lay below one path and terrible cold
At the other. I sewed. My hair was the color of rust and
My face of yak milk. I had three babes
Two lived.

Stories of a better place had us follow down the great river.
I grew old on the journey but my babes
Grew strong and long forgot
The old ways.
Others will tell the story of the people who lived long;
Long enough to see the time of the ice and
The good time and then the ice again
And still we lived.

Until. It happened first in the land near the sand.
A few at first. Then more. Still more all the time.
We were bewildered.
The new ones were like us but not of us.
We were fair, they were dark. We liked them.
They liked us.
The babes came in time and they were different.
We liked them.

When there were more of the new babes than us
Some grown ones moved away toward
The rising light.
At least so the ancient ones tell us.
Stories retold when important gatherings happen.
Not sad tales but still…we wonder
How they fare and should we go to the new light
As well.

After the last big ice went away a tale is told of
Another leaving of our people.
But now the path is toward the pale sun
That stays so long.
Fewer and fewer are the old type people seen now.
Higher we travel toward the lands
Where the ice once had been covering over
The grass.

We are mostly all the new people now.
Small bands remain of the old.
The large water is near and many leave
To live nearby.
Brave ones go out on the big water to follow the sun.
We see not one of the old type people
Just their empty caves. Alas. They lived here for
Most all of time.

What came next started after the last big ice time.
The hunters hunted and the gatherers
Gathered as always.
Then the gatherers became diggers and, eureka!
Agriculture. This was the real thing the future…
Civilization.
Full bellies and some leisure time courtesy
Of the women.

The women let their power slip away to those
Under-employed former hunters now goat
And camel wranglers.
Prophets and martyrs at every oasis hectoring
The unwary by day. Their hapless flocks by night.
Damning the unreachable. Stoning the backslider.
No longer under-employed now pious
Stewards of eternity.

Cobblers of many small truths
Into large lies.
Dazzlers of the easily moved, the
Desperate, the forsaken who yearn for larger truths
And only wee small lies.
Several of the biggest liars have recruited global hordes.
Meanwhile the Greeks learned
How to think.

Alas! They taught the Romans. Trust us said they and thence
A millenium of gore was born. Exit Samnites
Luisitani, too and Albans and Sabines
Can’t forget the Argosians O no. Rue.
The Latins gone. Forgotten? Maybe, and the dear
Old Spartans brave but dead.
Still at end the Empire into history slid with
Scarcely a whimper.

Quiet now. That fitful scratching noise? Monks
On dry skins salvaging thought and deed. Blessed be those scribes
But rescuing those ancient desert ravings and small truths may
Not have been so wise.
Armed now with the Word they set abroad to
Recruit anew the holy army.
The desert message writ in gore and peace was never
Known again.

With the reign triumphant chattel was amassed unparalled. Firstly
All females, the sex into bondage. Infidels dutfully done in.
All treasure for taking.
All beasts into proclaimed stewardship cast
And for battle caught foe, alas
The chains.
Mere arrow, axe and mace blazon desert minions’ zeal
For now.

Monastaries for the parochial few led in time
To University leaving the many to life’s instruction
Also known as being
Uneducated.
The franchise expanded reluctantly to include “useful idiots”.
Scholars and Gentlemen.
Now the desert minions would have champions
By legion.

In the Middle Kingdom dragons grew fearful for
Such awful noise had come.
Fire in tubes that drove them away
Never to be seen again.
Salute! Salute! Begone demons.
Strangers came to the Kingdom welcomed
But warned against knowing the recipe for
The Dragon weapon.

Theft. Deception. On camel’s back the secret left
The trusting Kingdom.
Plodding toward the sand people early
In it’s journey. Later to lodge with the baptised where
Piety seethed and enemies grew like
Mushrooms after horses.
Cannonading madly those angelical stewards
Of eternity.

The takings began.
Rare a yard of the globe unnoticed by the pious
As conquest or conversion fodder.
Each pagan household upended despite worth
Exceeding the usurper’s own.
No matter that.
Monkish scratching etched the Word for all time.
All persons. Amen.

Pray tell how a humble ministry
To village and desert wanderer led to
Basilica
And Crystal Worship Palace? The least
Materialist soul of record
Spawned generations of rapacious zealots
Ransacking a planet for piety
And for gain.

Our progress, if such, is in the way of the inchworm
Which must need grasp with his front
Whilst dragging onward his
Rear parts. And again.
His vanguard end needs hind parts holding
For purchase only
Not to anchor the forward movement with
Sternest tradition.

Poor creature. Desert minions to the rear lag back
And myopia joins narrow wisdom
Going forward.
Perilous journey with parts joined nicely in tandem
But solo effort
Brings chaos and struggle. While destiny
Is revealed only by
The inch.

Vague as our fate remains, the desert minions
Doubt not the day of our birth.
Scouring monkish scribblings brings
The aha! moment.
With that instant writ firm, all later discovery brings scorn and threat.
Time, a bother and impediment, is throttled back
To fit the desert calendar exact, lest
Doubt emerge.

Machines employed and vile draughts brewed to
Stay new thought from ever tainting
The faithful.
Show the rack. Behold the fire and irons.
Enough? Why will they not convert nor
See our truth revealed and what glories await?
Imps and demons poison all
Who doubt!

Lure the peasant from his fold to kneel and
Labor all his days at parchment and wine press
And the bell ropes.
Equip with a tongue so old and forgotten that its drone
Would cower all rogue dissent.
Tell of lesser breeds who need succor
Or bondage and how the parchments
Command it.

The freed serf and vassal and bondsmen too
Gladly aped hard Roman and thinking Greek as well
In yolking others to their will.
Centuries of men in chains leave evidence of
Grand spectacle for their driven effort.
No onset of humane regret manumit those held so
Long ’til better power than human muscle made
Them free.

Oil of whale and then of ancient ferns and such
Flowing from deep pit caused water to
Boil and spit.
Drove the engines of the newly freed serfs and made
Leisure to devise torments fresh
For sundry foes.
Onward the Juggernaut of devout
Desert minions.

Conquest and mayhem and decades of war
And more again as quick as the
Stink clears.
On and dreadful on ’til this very day and again surely
Tomorrow.
Religion the beastly side our nature. Need to pray and
Urge to slay
Dwell together.

Whilst Barons feudal did John the King coerce to
Magna Carta sire, a lusty bairn was
Whelped.
When gray of beard that babe had met
Another ancient one.
Whose da was born the very year
English pluck routed brave Frenchmen at
Agincourt.

Now that wee babe with long lived luck
In dotage knew another such who’s own dear mother
Came alive the very day
Great Lear appeared upon the stage.
For just three mortal spans of years made
Creaking steps of times past appear
Less daunting. Six stout hearts carried us to
Elizabethan sphere.

Nearing now our present era aided by
These leaps in time to learn of a Bard’s namesake
Babe who too grew eld.
And chanced to meet another crone of
Countless years who told
The singular precedent of one
Whose papa timely arrived when
Adams, John was President.

To be or not to be a King our
Republic’s Princeling heir pondered, then agreed
To forsake the crown.
Majestically he searched in vain to find an American heart
Not depraved or corrupted. More darkness than light
Filled their souls and thus were unfit
For a Republic. Low born. Base.
Demos!

It was a Nation, that much is true and
A new Republic, too. Though some saw murder, theft
And jingo seeping through.
But winners write the tale that longest lasts.
There was a wilderness to tame
And treasures greater than ever known before
Lay at every patriot’s door.
For the taking.

Tom J. came along when we needed a friend.
Eight years had he but old Adams, J. scarce half that
To rule. Good friend Tom fiddled and took all
The House commanded and kept all his bought help
In field, kitchen and manse.
Tom was no friend to woman or hired man who
Dared wish a ballot to cast, if you please. Was Tom J. truly
A friend… indeed?

Polish an oaf and he cleans up so nicely.
Put his hands on a throttle with caboose
Far behind.
Varlet now literate reading solemn at law while
Steamboat Willie flickers about on
A wall.
Brave and new the world is our oyster
Stew.

Republic gone. Lasted but scarce a half century! Egad.
Then on that slippery slope. Big chunk of neighbor Mexico.
Some idyllic pineapple isles
And next whatever Spain had worth the taking.
Hush! Be loath to utter aloud or even think
If loyal patriotic and discrete
That foulest of foul word that stink…
Empire.

Our RNA, our very genes demand we must always grow.
Go West Young Man and Eminent Domain and Westward Ho!
But no Nation unless some hidden fugue propels will endlessly
Grow the whole world over.
No wisdom voice to mock us as we willfully grow, but never do
Grow up.
Unlimited growth is a perfect tell but only by a metastasizing
Cancer cell.

The game is up. Every day, in every way it slides away and
We have no clue as to how it ever got that way.
We are not unique, never were. We are not all good
And wise and noble.
Only motion and noise and none to say Stop! Pause!
Between the human and the truly humane we are but a link
And a messy bit of unfinished celestial business
I think. 

End

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