by Steven "Prometheus" Hoey
On the streets of the city, people shuffle and shove
’Neath gleaming steel shafts that scratch the heavens above.
An assorted lot are they: Yuppies, Guppies, Walkers and Arties,
They rush through the crush to the shows, the clubs, and coke parties.
In the West the sky burns umber as the horizon swallows the sun
And through the shadows of Central Park lean joggers bravely run.
Night falls on the City silent and swift
Cloaking the jetsam and flotsam of all souls adrift.
Tossed about like a slave on a raft, each are islands in the stream.
The taxis run on into the night, the subway wails its harsh scream.
But high above midtown It watches and waits
For a victim below, its hunger to sate.
Clinging to a ’scraper of 20’s art deco fame,
It surveyed its domain, eyes redolent with flame.
Not far below in a light-freckled tower,
A lone soul taxed his PC’s computing power.
All around him lay piles of documents and reports
His eyes they were bloodshot, his nose sore from snorts.
He struggled in vain to make his model run
While his cohorts cavorted in the city having fun.
The gargoyle smiled for It had found Its prey;
It swooped from the tower for a little midnight’s play.
The lad loosened his tie, which was a bright ‘power’ yellow
Muttering aloud the should have taken a job a tad more mellow.
His hands shook and twitched as they raced over the keyboard
Fuelled by caffeine rather than Madeira as they were in Oxford.
No sooner than he had run his four-hundredth iteration
Did the window shatter inward with a glassy tintinnabulation.
The gargoyle leapt through, landing with a thud on the floor.
Our hero saved file, logging out on his way to the door.
‘Not so fast, my little simpering puppy,’
It said, snatching up the terrified yuppy,
‘I’ve come to test you sorely, so you’d better keep your wits
Or else I’ll crush you slowly, grinding your innards to bits. ’
At this the lad did pale as he struggled to get free
But it only squeezed him tighter, squelching all hopes of his to flee.
It smiled a gruesome smile ectoplasm dribbling down its chin;
‘I hope you don’t mind,’ it said, ‘my manner of dropping in,
But I’ve noticed your life is dull — too much work,
NO CARNAL SIN. ’
‘Now look here, foul beast, I’ve worked hard for what I’ve won
And I’ll work and I’ll toil so they’ll pay me a ton,
And it’s none of your business what I do or do not,
So release me now, spawn of hell, you bloody Balliol sot!’
The gargoyle smiled a smile wicked with menace
But the boy stared right back, head held high showing no penance.
‘You’ve got spunk that’s for sure,’ it said as it took him
To the ledge on the edge as things began to look grim.
‘You were a Byronist once so perhaps all is not lost
If I can turn your thoughts away from mundane income and cost.’
With that it leapt from the ledge into the night,
The lad it did take overseas out of sight.
Through the mists and the rains their courses they flew,
Their destination unknown, it gave not a clue.
Through the clouds they descended, lower and lower
’Til they skimmed the Isis, capsizing a rower.
Field, streets, and spires — these things they passed over
When — horror of horrors — they spied the flapping Grover!
On the prowl o’er All Souls he searched for a wench
Leaving behind him an acrid Gauloisean stench.
Soon they did touch down, the Beastie and the boy,
On lawns cool and fresh, their perfume so sweet as to cloy.
It took him to a window off the cloistered Fellow’s Garden;
The curtains drew back suddenly revealing George’s huge ...
He scrubbed and he rubbed his fiancée’s porcelain back
While in the background wicked Nicki flailed Chris stretched on the rack.
The boy’s knees grew weak as he saw set out on a table
All manner of viands and wines like a feast in a fable.
With this the revellers stuffed their throats to the gill
And washed it all down with aged vintage swill.
Rob Herringbone sat forlorn, newly loverless and alone
While Masato tickled a new grad’s earlobe with a bone;
So sensuous and kinky he was that all looked on in wonder
’Til Oakley let out a bellow that echoed like thunder.
Heads turned toward Childe Harold as he brought his pistol to bear,
‘Let go of me, woman,’ he shouted aloud, ‘stop pulling my hair!’
‘Oh poo!’ replied Gilly sliding languorously to the floor,
‘You guys used to be such fun, now you’re such a bore!’
Childe Harold tucked his weapon in his Corsican tunic
While ’neath the table fair Anthony chased after a eunuch.
‘Come back here at once, you impotent excuse for a slave!
Give back my ruby earring,’ he cursed, ‘or I’ll gavotte on your grave.’
Far back in a corner, writhing vigorously on a Persian rug,
Alex and Cathy turned and tossed in a Kama Sutra hug.
Swordfish and Condom did their best to ply them well with drink
As all-for-one, one-for-all to the floor they slowly did sink.
One lone sloucher sat slumped in his chair
Blowing smoke rings from a cigar into the fetid, rank air.
Lord Henrey of Brent smiled a smile like the Beast
Sitting content and sated after the Epicurean feast.
He turned to the window and blew the boy a ring
That wafted through the air, becoming a palpable thing.
It encircled his head and the boy breathed it in;
He thought as he swooned that this must be Original Sin
For his head grew light and his heart embolden’d
As the Spirit of Byron filled his soul now engolden’d.
Though delight is often fleeting like most of life’s pleasures,
A Byronist’s knack to recall it at once is an everlasting treasure.
He awoke at his terminal by the light of the morn;
He was weary and haggard and thoroughly worn.
But he smiled a smile as he got up to leave,
His heart touched by Byron’s spirit, his soul granted reprieve.
He grabbed a taxi, ‘Park Avenue South, if you please,’ he said,
And rode into the rosy sunrise on his way home to bed.