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Nightmare on the Mediterranean

 

The Marquis rejects 20th Century ways --
he in his frilled blouse and flounce pantaloons.
He grins through smeared lipstick as I paint his portrait
and boasts of the novel way he has beheaded his wife,
with her lover's unwitting compliance and a draw knife.
As dusk sets in, I cover the canvas, then bid him adieu
and set out for more pleasant surroundings.

The evening is warm and festive, filled with stars.
People are sipping cocktails in the outdoor amphitheater.
I mix with the crowd and sit near
a French-Arab lady seated at a long table.
I can't decide on a screwdriver or a bloody mary.

In the sky, at first barely discernible,
A cratered rock drifts high above, growing larger,
Passing over, a phantom uncloaked.
The great stone becomes a mountain
Over the nearby air base, then recedes from sight.
Helicopters, planes, a flurry of red lights in the sky,
Spell imminent danger.
The long wail of a siren triggers a mad dash to our cars.

As I am about to depart,
a military jeep approaches and stops.
An American man in uniform tells me to go to the base
with him and join others in waiting planes.
He says the shock wave is minutes away yet,
but we'll get out in time before it reaches us if we move.
He says I'll never get far enough away
trying to escape in my car.

We speed rapidly toward the shrill sirens
and chaos of red lights --
the Marquis and a female figure embrace,
silhouetted in an orange-lit balcony window,
as we hurtle past his great chateau.


Michael McClellan

 

 1997 Psychedelic Wasteland
 1998 Osric Publishing
 1995-2001 Michael McClellan

 

 

 

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