The Second Fall of Rome

And this too shall fall over the Neronian chaos,
A midnight born of anarchy – a world in chains.
Carthage still smoldering amidst the waning of
The half-light, the gladiator stalking, unmoored
Upon the main; the only living thing, a windswept

Sigh of the fading hourglass. NATO shock troops
Kick a man to death on the outskirts of Kabul, their
Fiendish laughter inexorable; red wraiths lurking,
Prowling on the plains. Indomitable Mars glowering
Over the eviscerated wasteland; from the Palatine

To Park Avenue, an avarice crowned in sickly zones
Bereft of light. Two centurions stand unwept upon
A lonesome mere, one forged of blood and iron, the
Other of brackish sands, the revenant cascading
Amidst the song of withering whiteness, each held

The eagle, an ashen eye in twain; discordant bells
Clanging beyond the shades of Pyrrhic conquest, the
Mane incarnadine – dead men blackening the earth
Like scattered dew. Quinctilius Varus plunging the blue
Blade through his breast, the furies of Teutoburg raging –

Voracious were the tribes that rent the once proud
Legions; Arminius unbowed amidst the falling of the
Rains, black hawk turning, its eye in shadow. Whither
Flew the seraphs, ye cannibal soldiers of the dawn? The
Center imploding, the monster self-devours. A Syrian

Girl looks out upon the vanished gloaming, her village
Sacked, the lone survivor; screaming of the innocents
Burning in the brain – plunder seized upon the final
Battleground. The survivors sold as chattel, cursing their
Misfortune having escaped death’s merciful shroud.

David Penner has taught English and ESL within the City University of New York and at Fordham. His articles on politics and health care have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Dr. Linda and KevinMD; while his poetry has been published with Dissident Voice. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books: Faces of Manhattan Island, Faces of The New Economy, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at: 321davidadam@gmail. Read other articles by David.