When the Capital Fell

Richard Magahiz

When the Capital Fell
I, John, my thumbprint and my cheek swab
Titanium dogface mook with a glass aorta.
I still see scorpions striding in plain sight,
Six-winged drones hid not their faces
The queuing ones with human faces were few.
The justified sat huddled atop pronged giants.
Apostate servants knelt on avenues like garlands
Others with white chits in their fists were not targets
Against our boy chests — a rebar necklace thumped
The screen showed us blazing lions gripping staffs
The wartbats watched, yet never seemed to close their jaws
This is why the gold stripe ivoryheads called them ghosts
A third of the stars were ours, claimed the press feed
From their tower keened a roll of Mylar black with prophecy
Who for and who from, no one there knew.
I heard a loud voice trill in my ear — the translation shrilled
Three persons — one substance — zero tears
The flower of the Belt is falling… has fallen
Cracked opium smoke… haloed outlines sped
Clutching black headrags —  wrists and paws wrapped in gauze
Although the rhinestone morphos slowed me to a crawl
From fingers five long needles dripped wine and saline
Plus ka-bars clattered in the lampstand reek
But no amount of phosphorus could burn away
Male forms and female and everywhere the voice of locusts
From between artificial hips, a unit gave birth again, and again
Six thousand shapes that bawled into scarred air.
I, John, hear the streets of home run with water
Cannabinoid censed huts: these ever clot my eyes
The only thing eternal is their three-in-one dust.


Richard Magahiz tries to live an ordered life in harmony with all things natural and created but one that follows unexpected paths. He wrangles computers as a day job but imagines a time when life might center around other things. His work has appeared in Eye to the Telescope, Eccentric Times 3, Star*Line, Dreams and Nightmares, Bewildering Stories, Simultaneous Times newsletter, Otoliths, Uppagus, Heliosparrow, and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change. His website is at https://zeroatthebone.us/

Author’s Backstory and Comments:  I wrote this partly in response to the masterly project by Nina Paley called Apocalypse Animated (https://apocalypseanimated.com) which re-imagines the last book of the Christian Bible in an illuminated web format. It was also partly a reaction to the evacuation of Kabul by US forces, with the capital in question a combination of the two, weirded up with all kinds of speculative elements which came to hand.

Editor’s Notes and Image Credit: The author said, “When the Capital Fell” is an account of apocalyptic, possibly delusional, set of experiences told by a broken individual.”

Image: Post apocalyptic Washington, D.C. [wallpaperflare.com]

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One Response to When the Capital Fell

  1. Robyn McIntyre says:


    The imagery is so sharp and yet hazy because it’s hard to imagine such things. Makes you want to have been there and at the same time, glad you aren’t.

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