The Fall of the West

By | 13 May 2024

Despite cutbacks, delays, interruptions
the poison in my stomach
didn’t succeed. Had to walk from the station

of course, no more buses after 11pm. Feet
sincerely sore, the night suitably spooky, at least rain
didn’t add to my despair. Public transport

doesn’t get any better, often gets worse
and despite gruesome dehydration, moral decay and death
dangling the carrot of survival, I thought

of grander things: could Napoleon at all have won
in 1812? Russia, Russia, it’s always Russia. Can protestors
in Iran win? Fat chance. Then

the violent urge to puke again, indigestion
proper is properly vile. It must’ve been that $15 dark
ale — fifteen dollars, for fuck’s sake — that festers

down there. Eerily electrified sign
sports at the driveway to an industrial park
a man (whose face reminds me of a suicidal colleague

at work) shirtless, abs, biceps, idiotic, desperate. Advertisement
for a gym? Another business that’ll go bust? Another
reminder of what connects my malaise with Napoleon’s defeat

with the Iranians’ preordained failure: murderous overpriced
beer here, implacable Islamist ghouls there, where
did the vision of something that used to be called the West

fuck off to? It’s too dark save for more macabrely lit posters
that can’t be bothered with pausing me, houses for sale
at hysterically high prices. I mean if this is

all that remains of the great civilisation
and this Iranian-born French-obsessed drunk
stands tonight as its sole witness, then

it must’ve already ended, surely, the empire
has fallen. Nothing to celebrate, no time to commiserate
because I’m too hungry, too tired for either joy or tears.

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