These pictures trouble sense: the abject walk,
A frontispiece of misery and dejection.
Just chintz and prints, my buddy Ray says.
We are supposed to be in Egypt, I guess.
But this Pharaoh, he’s, like, the king of all
The known world? I don’t think so. It’s beyond fake,
The faux Pharaoh, the ersatz Dynasty,
Put together in Las Vegas or something.
Then a picture of the Nile comes up:
Bulrushes, a felucca…could
That be Baby Moses floating down steam,
His head up, smiling at the camera,
A big toothy grin? Giving us the thumbs
Up sign? Well…
The last picture is a hollowed out log,
A ghost emerging from the stump, a fog
That is about to flow and coat the known world:
It seems to smell, foul and bog-like, like it
Would smell outside the frame, spilling off
The trompe-l’oeil, to fool the eye. And nose?
And stink up Pharaoh’s Pizza Emporium?
‘The World’s Best Pizza. This side of De-Nile.’
A groan from Ray, as he gets change for music.
And when the pie finally does show up…
After like 40 minutes of jukebox
—Wooly Bully and 96 Tears—
…my God, ambrosia, thin, crisp crust,
Just the right cheese…and real tomato paste…
Hey, no denial here. Pharaoh, my man,
This is great stuff, I say. Great pie. A pause.
Why, I could write a poem about this, I say.
You know, pyramid pies and Cleo’s calzones…
Naw, says Ray, don’t do that…
Besides, it’s late.