Marco Polo stood on a hill with doomed Cathay
spread out before him, driven there by the compelling pressure
of the lack of refrigeration in a vulgar Europe,
come to pack his saddlebags with all that turmeric and coriander.
And o, the silk! To lounge about in one’s pajamas
like a nawab, fanned by eunuchs in the cool colonnades,
rousing oneself only to visit the seraglio...
The fireworks were enough to require rebellion
against such despotism, to fill the occidental skies
with all the glory of that red glare.
After properly aligning the compass,
let me stumble towards the sunrise
over red clay, through cornfields and swampland,
to plunge at last into the surging waves
rising from the grave of fabled Atlantis.
July 26, 2000
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