POETRY - Petroleum


Wherefore weave with toil and care

The rich robes your tyrants wear


The composer bows to the surging applause and introduces his new composition, a cross pollination

of Tennessee tunes and Renaissance dances. He is popular both with the upscale downtown classical crowd and

the southern faction of the teenage industrial goths dabbling in medieval magic and sexual aberration

rooted in Giordanno Bruno?s art of mnemonic crowd manipulation. I make a mental note to pay attention to

the two different strains, Tennesseean and Renaissance, and the precise mid-point of the cross-fade, from

one to the other, cowboys in tights, knights in cowboy boots

The viola de gamba scrapes across the floor like my high school history teacher behind the barbed

wire curtain, in the pre velvet revolution era when she scraped her long fingernails on the blackboard to

make us shut up and listen. Her real name flaps helplessly in mnemosyne?s web, a butterfly slave to its

sticky tar, but her nickname flutters to the surface like bat wings, Comrade Rump! She had red curls and if

you touched them they?d feel like copper sponges. Her rump was round and tight, a pre-crumb madonna rump,

she was probably twenty seven then but she?s still older than me now. Her thighs were thick, and her

Glittery cowboy calves, which captured me the most, so much so her shiny emerald stiletto pumps

perished into the peripheral. When she revolved on heel to flash the mighty scintillating calves and chalk

1492- 1548 on the same blackboard she clawed the instant earlier, her seams slashed us, supplicants, like

sabers across the classroom, while the bristle on the calves shot out through the fabric like backlit

orange barbed wire: under the microscope, forced by Comrade Rump to peer through when unmasked yearningly

spying on the entrancing translucency of the mioritic mound behind her knees, this fabric, a vertical

versus horizontal weave of braided electrical cables: there was the mound we longed to lounge on halved by

the severe motherness of the sabery seam but the bars? barbed wire braided us beyond all reach o Monte

Christo: the microcosm, she thrashed chastely, is no different than the macrocosm

Enlarged from 5 3?8" x 2 3?4" exquisite oval miniature to be presented as amorous gift to lady love

to wall size poster on socialist newsprint paper, ?The Young Man Among Roses? rendered by Nicholas

Hilliard, 1547-1619, was an enemy of the people swooning with hand to heart in white silk tights. Her

crimson nail glided up his slender calves, then thighs?if he too were able to revolve in place our eyes

would have feasted on his tamer but no less enticing seams as well?tapped twice on his crotch to crawl up

to weak chin then suddenly shoot out like the vulture beak of class consciousness into his beady and

wistful eyes: weak and effeminate, while the working classes clad in dirty burlap trousers which sagged at

the knee, went about barefoot, carelessly stubbing toes, had strong well?defined chins, with clefts,

powerful square jaws and large clear eyes on their soot stained sallow faces burning with yearning for

revenge and revolution. Yes it is true, Comrade Rump?s

fingernails burned crimson with capitalist

decadence, but it was only a gambit, torpedoes at the ready camouflaged as glamour fingers ever to spurt

death and destruction upon the silk hosed classes?and the framed Marx, Lenin and Stalin could do nothing

but beam ecstatically at the seams: she would

mercilessly scout out the enemy of the people, gaze burning through whatever satin sheets he might lounge

under; even in snake pit should he conceal his lacy effeminacy, she would tractor him out by his trembling

tights, put him to flight, outmaneuver, overpower,
subdue, subjugate and vanquish him, punish him mercilessly and

continuously, hoist him and string him up with barbed wire at dawn from the highest telegraph pole as case

history on

display. No doubt the barbed wire would cause his hose to run, seams to bust, silk to shred, making a very

bad impression on the jubilating party girls exerting themselves by day in sunny
sweatshops for the sake of the sullied
proletariat pausing to view and jeer on

their way home to centrally heated hot water block apartments.
How their merry laughter splattered like baby blue water upon the cobblestone sidewalk! How their

blood red stiletto heels clickety clacked to the beat of nationally fabricated seamed nylon, fierce


of a

surging eastern European industrial nation, undefeatable


of the modern toiling woman!

How their voices rang out in jubilant singing, their socialist seams long shadows dancing on the

cobblestone to the beat of the oxcarts manned by dreamy rustics skillfully wielding whips on the back of

their beasts from produce market to the rosy gloaming of their hillock villages so sung by the poets.

How we loved you Comrade Rump! How you grilled us with your copper wires when we lied! How they

glittered like penalizing mirrors to better contemplate the likeness of our guilty decadence in! The tar

tugging at our hearts now is our guilty love for the quicksand of your elephant thighs, your seams, Comrade

Rump! We were your young men among roses and your copper wires of yore tore at the tights we wore for you.

How we admired how you denied your silk desires! There is tar now on our tights and the Tyrannosaurus Rex

of yore now turned to tar, fossil fuel to fabricate the delicate copper wire fibers of your stockings,

elephant and dinosaur tightly about each other in harmonic ecstasy, oh industry! employing the

?Internationale? intoning petroleum toiling proletariat engaged in the service of our yearning for you!

elephant and dinosaur lying side by side, and the translation of my memories now sprouting microsoftly on

petroleum products?slithering
seams across the half century to repay, so many chastisements, with chastity.

Viola de gamba, composer, now bow to the
surging applause and I could slap myself for I missed the promised cross-fade, from Tennesseean to

Julian Semilian is a poet, translator, novelist and
filmmaker. He was born in Romania. At present, he teaches
film editing at the North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking, after a twenty-four-year

career as a film editor in Hollywood, where he has worked on more than 50 movies
and TV shows.