Nail Chiodo

Loud in War

Canto X

The time was overripe, long gone to seed,
For Time to be called “Destroyer” to its face:
More than Lud ever hoped for or dreamed
Had been tendered him on a golden plate
Only to be promptly cleared away and forthwith replaced
With other rare morsels of blending taste
Lent him new charge—till, in the end, he could but scream
“O God—enough of love—I am satiate!”
To retire at thirty (having made millions of bucks)
Had been the dream of peasants in his generation;
To do so (still penniless but) after thousands of fucks
Was more in line with the aristocratic station
Will not add to mankind’s cahiers de doléances1.
So it was that Lud honestly came to believe
He could do without yet another good woman,
Live henceforth in a virile spirit of chastity
And come to terms (finally) with his own soliton2.
Which indeed is the way it might all have worked out
Had it not been for the wild type of Kant’s imperative3,
With all of its totally and in no way gratuitous clout,
Which placidly suggested that a soul found attractive,
And patently in need of attention, should not—
If at all possibile—be left unattended:
With Lesley, as with most any girl seen by chance at a party,
That meant hitting the dance floor and singling her out.
And that is, in fact, what Lud proceeded to do
With the zen-like precision of one who has nothing to gain
And nothing to lose; for he did not, most assuredly,
Have her in mind for himself when he made his move.
Our young Casanova plans on pimping for friends,
To keep busy after early retirement;
The idea leaps at him, spurred by the moment:
A way not to waste the expertise he’s acquired
In luring and baiting curious specimens;
An ethical human-resource investment;
A novel sort of spiritual militancy even,
As a politically-correct Saviour might have ordained
Somewhere along the lines of “Follow me
And I’ll make you a fisher of women.”4

While he and Lesley boogied away,
Lud worked out the whole deontology;
The morrow was to be just another day
In which he would turn her over to Charly;
And at close of evening, in front of her doorstep,
A fortiori5 no kiss was exchanged.
The sincerity of our self-styled match-maker
Can hardly be matter for doubt;
But one can’t really blame Charly either
For wondering what Lud’s plan was about:
A merchant by trade and formation,
He was naturally suspicious of any donation,
Especially if it consisted in a young lady
Hot as plutonium, but perhaps just as shady.
So he forewent trying his chances with her,
Left his pal Lud to enjoy his droit du seigneur6
And manage his own portfolio of futures.
That Lud thence returned upon his decision
Never again to get amorous with someone
And, overcome by compassion
For his rejected offering,
Fell for Lesley like a plump persimmon
In no way means he had succumbed
To exhuming old velleities and expectations:
Henceforth he might still love, yes, but all the while
Expecting nothing in return; it would take patience
Perseverance selfless dedication, a style
Almost imperceptible because utterly uncommon,
Paradoxical fulfillment of the self-images
Of the age7
. That the time had come to be less wanton
Was also a matter of simple arithmetic,
Really, though of a beauty so intrinsic
As to solve a whole variety of conundrums.
To wit:

1 / 7 = 0 . 1 4 2 8 5 7
2 / 7 = 0 . 2 8 5 7 1 4
3 / 7 = 0 . 4 2 8 5 7 1
4 / 7 = 0 . 5 7 1 4 2 8
5 / 7 = 0 . 7 1 4 2 8 5
6 / 7 = 0 . 8 5 7 1 4 2

—a series of homologous, infinite expansions
(Known as Sukumar’s Symphony of Numbers8
After the gentle avatar who composed it)
Which discompose the veil of the seventh digit
Just that bit that’s needed to reveal its wonders.
Point is, Lesley became Lud’s seventh lover
And, as these playful figures prove,
Harmony will be inherent in a heart that’s true
When it gets divided into seven parts.
With her, Lud reached his seventh heaven;
Their love was perfected, if e’er love has been.
But after only a few months in which he
Had showered her with all manner of attention,
Lesley came down with an itch to move on
And pursue her own prurient vocation.
Lud, too, felt a plummeting tension,
A surging sense of futility and ennui—
Not unlike that of God the seventh day of creation9.
After taking her leave of him with due reverence,
She promptly forded the shallows of prescience
And soused in the find that she was the kind
Of person who is of like gender and mind
In questions of sexual preference.
Soon she became a gallant natural force,
Defender of the oppressed and a terror in the Courts;
And Lud could not but feel proud in the end,
As he had been her lover, that he still was her friend.

  1. Fr. The books of complaints of the Third Estate before the French Revolution.

  2. it’s a term used in physics to describe “localized entities, present in numerical solutions of the equation of Korteweg and de Vries, having the property of surviving reciprocal collisions and crossings, despite the non-linear nature of that evolutionary equation.” In other terms, its the wave that explains why there is permanence and continuity in the Universe. Curiously enough, it was first discovered way back in August 1834 by J.S. Russell, an English physicist, while he was observing a boat being drawn by a couple of horses down a little stream: “The boat stopped suddenly, but not so the mass of water that the boat had set in motion…”

  3. the “Categorical Imperative” of Emmanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason.

  4. cf. Matthew 4:19.

  5. Lat. “all the more certainly”.

  6. Fr. “right of his lordship”; the right (and duty) of a feudal lord to have sexual relations with a vassal’s wife on her wedding night.

  7. cf. Alasdair MacIntyre, Against the Self-Images of the Age (1978).

  8. a divertissement by the physicist C.V. Sukumar, Wadham College, Oxford.

  9. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Wanderer and his Shadow, 56 (“Only the most acute and active animals can feel boredom. A theme for a great poet would be the boredom of God on the seventh day of creation.”).

Canto XI