Repressed Transcript of The Berlin Conference (1884-85)
French Republic (FR): Just now, Poe’s raven threw itself blackly
gainst the window.
Its wings curdled the grey, noon light.
Kingdom of Portugal (KP): A grim sign!
Psychopaths love their slaughters
as much as actors love death scenes.
FR: That’s War:
Endlessly contagious and expansive.
German Federation (GF): A Treaty will prevent our navies
pinking the ramshackle sea;
forestall soldiers and emperors
suffering that choking-on-dust sensation that’s dying.
Great Britain (GB): Uttered like a plutonic Plato
Or a Platonist Pluto.
Kingdom of Italy (IT): Our Embassy furnishes today’s luncheon—
limoncello and lemon-flavoured salmon—
plus pewter creamers from Naples
and a Capri of silver spoons
for the coffee service later….
Kingdom of Spain (KS): And we supply mescal from Mexico.
GB: The worm at the bottle’s bottom
resembles an engorged maggot.
IT: Italy commends Berlin’s imperious architecture—
a comfy cocktail
of Baroque and Georgian and Gothic….
United States (US): While we tipple this tongue-dazzling limoncello,
we mustn’t ignore the simultaneous business
of preventing the flowers of Africa
from becoming broken petals,
due to the instinctive Mischief of empires.
GB: But you Yanks bring a shotgun perspective,
a gunboat vision,
to every single Policy.
Consequently, we note the irreparable disappearance
of Red Indian tribes from your Great Plains.
US: Your keen lenses must yet be foggy
with blood spatter,
if you don’t recall your massacres of brown Indians
IT: Now arrives the situation of coffee
plus plum-coloured Amaro,
to help your parley reach the dove-cooing heaven of Peace.
GF: What do we stymie here?
Deadly rats biting little black girls;
upside-down burials of African chiefs;
the suitcase materialization
of Caucasian carpetbaggers,
delivering Africans slumping corpses,
or squads of assassins forcing babes
to choke on their own kicked in teeth.
KP: How awful that Spanish priests
torched the Mayans’ papyrus scriptures!
KS: There’s always Hypocrisy
in Portuguese Poesy:
Kingdom of Belgium (KB): Sun-incinerated Portugal
likes green wine, Camões’ leaves—
his leaves like peeled off toilet tissue.
KP: Belgium should speak sotto voce
for your Poetry is paper currency,
what you rip out of Brazil.
KB: Better that than nickel-and-dime Finance,
the ghastly customs of (Portuguese) Poverty.
KP: Yes, we don’t have a colony like The Congo,
where every child sports a necklace of leeches,
and maggots snuggle in assholes and eyeholes….
KB: Africa requires a lining of missionaries’ footprints,
of men as fearless of becoming crocodile material
as moths are of diving kamikaze into candles.
Japanese Empire (JE): As observers, we observe,
from our Asian purview,
that Europe looks exactly like vultures,
with flesh raining from open beaks.
US: The sinister litters of Europe
practice honed Dishonesty.
IT: Dante is our guide here.
Europe’s Afric colonies to date mirror
hellish stewing in sulphur and flame,
rivulets of fire, a torrential blaze.
FR: On the sea bottoms, black bodies writhe—
all gashed flesh and splintered bones,
A macabre porridge.
JE: (Aside): Is Whiteness itself a dishonest Complexion,
a perfidious Complex?
GB: I shouldn’t understand American Charity,
for it always shields cynical genocides.
IT: This is the era of Satan.
All our maps reek of Death.
KP: Poisonous winds propel the Belgian vessels.
US: Consumptive scrambling for scraps of Africa—
all this ominous chewing—
has an aura of Lust.
GF: Abandon such Poetry!
Europe mustn’t be a cathedral spewing fly larvae.
GB: The Yank rhetoric is, really,
“Bunkum, hokum, gobbledygook”!
KB: Must Britain be morbidly global?
GB: True Diplomacy rejects such bellicose diction.
GF: We seek a midway between all-out (Total) War
and nothing-doing Peace.
[Guelph (Ontario) 29 novembre mmxv
& Detroit (Michigan) 29 & 30 novembre mmxv]