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Kent Johnson

Julian in Nicomedeia

                    — after Cavafy

Errant and ominous things, now.
As ever, exaltations for the rule of global free markets.

The supernatural visitations, the official State visits to ancient holy
sites of the heathens. A certain frisson for the gods of the mystic Orient.

The sub-rosa gatherings in the old days with Chrisanthius.
The daring war plans of Maximus — the torturer — a poet, besides.

But this is what it’s come to: Gallus betrays chronic fidgetiness
and rashes. Constantius exhibits boils and symptoms of paranoia.

Ah, the advisors in the intelligence agencies don’t look as sapient as
the media, the obscenely obsequious media, had made them out to be.

The situation — whispers Mardonius, the opposition’s Speaker
in the Senate — is, like, really fucked up.

And even though we voted for War because we thought certain ancient
holy sites hid weapons of supernatural destruction,

some kind of disposition must now be made (with an expected measure
of hubris befitting imperium) to appease the heathens...

In the interregnum, oblivious Julian makes a campaign appearance at the
Colosseum of Nicomedeia, where at the top of his lungs and with a plebian twang,

he praises the charioteers and recites the Holy Scriptures, while the NASCAR
faithful acclaim, with roars, his Christian, his common-man authenticity.

Kent Johnson’s author notes page gives more recent information about his work.

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