Tuesday, June 03, 2008


A crumbling old imperium
Limping into the Twentieth Century;
I am provided with an arrogant
Incompetent bureaucracy, officered
By martinets. The order to mobilize,
We are told, went out in fifteen
Languages. Beneath it all, paying taxes,
Are the Serbs and Croats and Italians of my soul,
The Czechs and balances, slovens and Slovenes,
Albanians, Dalmatians, and pit bulls of my heart.

This is the empire of my self, the fifth wheel
Of Europe. Here in Vienna, impossibly,
Beautiful music is still made, pastries concocted,
Stunning pictures are painted in gold and crimson.
Here Dr Freud shocks sensibilities, finds himself
Unable to read Shakespeare, knowing as he does
The real secrets of the heart.

Let me only come under the spell of a vigorous,
Simpleminded Kaiser, and the end will begin;
The loans will come due all at once, the fragile
Eggshell of the dynasty will smash.
I await a blundering, inarticulate
Assassin: who unable to hold the steel barrel
Steady, will fire, convulsively, more
By accident than by design. All the king's horses
Will not put my spirit together again. The cracks
Run every which way, branching, tracing,
Fragmenting. This fractal shell
Patterned in elaborate destruction: I
Am finished.

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