The Scribes of Thutmose III

Joshua H. Gage
The Scribes of Thutmose III
            In memory of Alberto Tulli

The scribes of Thutmose III dip their reeds
and scrawl the rumors across the papyrus weft,
writing what they are told and keeping silent.

Riparian men have never been in charge
of preserving such unholy knowledge,
not even those in Sumer or Akkad.

They do not falter. Men so used to listening
to record the speech of gods feel no terror
concerning the fiery discs in the sky,

yet circles of fire find purchase in their dreams,
spinning and shrieking with vatic
howls from the night sky, the endless desert,

until those mental locks that hold their tongues
snap into frothing, wide-eyed lunacy.
Call forth the priests, their hemic copper blades.

Joshua H. Gage is an ornery curmudgeon from Cleveland. His newest collection, blips on a screen, is available directly from Cuttlefish Books. He is a graduate of the Low Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Naropa University. He has a penchant for Pendleton shirts, Ethiopian coffee, and any poem strong enough to yank the breath out of his lungs.

Backstory: Inspiration/Craft: I have been following poetry social media accounts regarding public domain poets and rereading their online collections, especially the Imagist and Modernist poets. I have also been delving into free or public access documentaries, particularly those concerning alien or UFO phenomena. A synthesis of the two was probably inevitable. In specific, this poem is based on the forms and tensions within the book Harmonium by Wallace Stevens and the Tulli Papyrus controversy.

Editor’s Notes/Image Credit: See An imaginative depiction of a UFO over camels and pyramids (Planeta Azul).

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