Posted by: Mark Nielsen | April 18, 2014

Uncle Vulcan, by Mark Nielsen

This one’s about the Roman god who appeared to me yesterday. However… Trekkies, you are welcome here too. Hope you won’t be too disappointed. The restroom’s on Pluto, last door on your left.

Not all gods are created equal.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

Uncle Vulcan                              (original poem by Mark Nielsen, 4-17 & 18- 2014)

Vulcan, my uncle,
son of Jupiter and Juno,
artisan extraordinaire,
forger, founder and faker, maker and user of tools,
fickle fortune’s original fool,
…why am I not surprised
that you were born lame?
For in these lines of mine–
so crudely forged,
with fiery fever mind
and bellowing bellicose bluster–
I see the same lame inherited shame.
Broken words yield only
scentless, senseless sacrificial smoke–
nonexplosive, non-praise near-misses,
malformed from the doomed digital DNA 

of our common and dysfunctional family

(perfectly incomplete,
uncracked codes,
complete with missing chromosomes and dangling participles
that only a Mongol could love).
I fear that my limping lingo,
these fancy words of sound and fury
signifying nothing
(which after all still suggest Something),
shall disappear into the mist above Elysium,
that perfect country
from which I was banished.
We no longer need gods to make mischief.
We do it quite well ourselves.
Dear Uncle Vulcan,
What have we done
with those great gifts you left us?
We make machines for spray-on tans,
idolize the Marlboro Man,

itemize recyclable cans,
let pork-fed Feds gut best-laid plans
while Hummers run roughshod over Man.
Putin the Titan
(a clash in Crimea),
basketball has-beens
in North Korea,
crime on my street
(you have no idea),
Ronald McDonald’s
so happy to see ya,
Extra Crispy,
sex on tv, and
the Great Black Hope
offers little to free ya.
(And what he’s got we refuse to pay for.
I barely even know what to pray for.
Instead we dig in well-heeled heels–
stiff-necked “Get your own!” shouted on newsreels,
bootstraps all broken, forgotten ideals.
A faint and fading fair New Deal
is now overturned upon appeal…
but don’t take too long
with my Happy Meal.)
Volcano ready to blow–
except, like Pompeiians,
we don’t want to know
what we know.




  1. […] More here: Uncle Vulcan, by Mark Nielsen […]

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