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.

Seamen’s observations
      The great Mediterranean is skittish
      about the latest technical innovations
      of 1866;
      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.