Feigning a Fine Fettle

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The Appian Way, John Linton Chapman, 1869

The Appian Way – John Linton Chapman, 1869

Begin at the intersection of all ways,

the crux of the world – all partings

are merely the divergence of a cross.

Roads lead on to roads or, not taken,

lead on to roads not withheld anyway,

and one may choose to go, crossing


Rivers and fighting currents, riding

the tides of cycling moon rises, following

lonely streets that crisscross cities full

of walls and negative space, brimming

with people and shadows, overflowing

with treasure and trash, all blowing


About in the winds that whip

around signs that point to corners

and sides, flowing outside and back

inside, drawing circles in the dust,

tracing the telluric girdles of the earth,

lines that run parallel and perpendicular


To something other than one another,

not near and not far, to form a web

of untethered pattern and chaotic spread,

as if viewing the world without sound

through cracked glass, sharded into

billions of tiny fragments, or memory


Rolling beneath the surface of frozen lakes,

trapped and bewildered on a single breath of air,

the panic of sudden agency swept unaware

by running currents, like those coursing through

purple veins of the body and entering into

white arteries at the crux of the pumping heart –


The Urbs Aeterna of the flesh.

All ways – low, high, and middle –

taken or not, eventually leading

themselves back again,

eventually flowing to congestion

and to standstill, standing before

a sign that pointed them to begin,

and a sign that tells them that their road

is ending where it began.


Give it to me straight.

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