THE JOURNEY OF THE GREAT EGYPTIAN OBELISK TO THE WEST
After the gilded inscription on its base at Place de la Concorde, Paris
What an obelisk looks like
Long, hard, and pointed.
That’s what the gods have made for us,
that’s why we’ve been making gods
for six thousand years.
In higher echelons
A tyrant’s life is hard,
says one tyrant to another.
Life’s hard anyway,
it pays to adore
it pays to be adored.
The great Mediterranean is skittish
about the latest technical innovations
the obelisk magnifique
navigates like the Golden Fleece.
Remark of the French historian
Where once foundations were laid
for civilizations and manners,
now the primitive fellah
dwells with his ass and goat
in a clay hut.
We in the West
engraved on every coin
Equality Liberty Fraternity.
Napoleon after Napoleon
marches ahead of us now.
Conversation of a French foreman
Three and a half damn months
in the stinking orient and on the Mediterranean
just to move this slab of an obelisk
from place to place.
In the meantime Jean-Paul has slept with Claudette
and Jean-Baptiste is not my son:
but I’m better off than Jean-Pierre
who’s buried near a German village.
Now they are putting up that stone
on a stone in the heart of the square.
Bon dieu, if they were smart
they would surround it with a pissoir.
German tourist’s letter
Have you managed to see the obelisk
they erected on the Place de la Concorde?
Stuck up like the noses of the French,
a people of wine-swilling frogs.
Berlin would have been better,
on top of the Chancellor’s helmet.
An Egyptian porter has the last word
There came those effendis of Nabulioon
and dragged a stone into the sea.
The Faranji are all crazy.
Allah have pity on the believers.
I got two dinars.