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poem by Mike Doughty about the Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse losing their jobs
FOUR HORSEMEN FOR HIRE
They fired the four.
The four got fired.
Embarrassing. Superfluous. Outmoded.
Never augmented their skill sets.
Didn't seek advanced degrees.
Blight was their wheelhouse.
They did it very well.
But management was dismayed.
It's difficult to implement.
Costly. Too process-based.
Too much overhead.
Unfortunately for the horsemen,
The apocalypse was not a union shop.
Famine took his own horse down.
He felt an obligation.
"A chef eats his own soup," he said.
Noble, but complicated,
And his colleagues were embarrassed
To see Famine arrive by carpool.
Death's horse was not pale, but pallid.
Actually greenish, in fact.
In the original, khloros
Greek for green or greenish
Same root as chlorophyll, chloroform
In fact, in some translations
Was not death at all, but conquest.
"That's War, said Death.
"He can be generalized
As violence. Bellicosity."
Death argued that management's demands were unreasonable.
But management considered it a loss of credibility.
Death was cashiered.
War, in fact, was reasonable.
He wanted to go into consulting, anyway.
He received a generous severance.
This was probably because management
It's hard to imagine an apocalypse sans War.
It was Pestilence, in fact, that was Conquest in some translations.
He didn't mention it.
He didn't want to show his hand.
His severance was somewhat paltry,
Because he was way too pleasant
When management fired him.
They didn't feel compelled to buy his approval.
Actually, Pestilence was kind of a mook.
He thought he got what War got.
They sold their horses for scrap
And then they went for beers.
War deliberated, silently,
Whether to tell Pestilence he got rooked.
War picked up the check, Pestilence left the tip.
War didn't figure it out until he was on the ferry.
Pestilence cabbed it uptown.
Pestilence had looked into classes in mental illness.
He sought a broader range.
Pamphlets on depression and mania.
Bipolar disorder. Borderline disorder.
Goth girls who cut themselves.
Alcoholics who pissed themselves.
Schizophrenics, who, hilariously in this context,
Thought they were Jesus.
Ultimately, Pestilence was somewhat of a snob.
Psychic wounds seemed beneath his abilities
In manipulating diseased flesh
In eating people with blackness from the inside.
Management interviewed Truculence,
Certainly not on the A-list,
But surprisingly impressive.
Unfortunately, Truculence had assembled a team
Viciousness, Dread, and Disregard.
Disregard? Be reasonable.
We're meeting Fear this afternoon.
Truculence dismissed the substitution.
Fear wasn't much of a self-starter.
They hired him anyway.
They met with Rape because they felt obliged.
Rape was charming.
But Rape? They couldn't hire rape.
Even the apocalypse has standards.
Despair wanted to remain a freelancer.
He took classes in improv at night.
He was in a band.
He married his girlfriend, and, so,
He had decent insurance, anyway.
Fire came post-lunch.
Management was skeptical.
Cooking? Tire disposal?
There's so much more there than malice and ruination.
They felt Fire to be overqualified.
But Fire's argument was pretty tight.
"What's the first thing you visualize
When somebody says 'apocalypse'?
Confusion was a shoe-in.
He brought his own tools.
He also did madness decently.
Pestilence was wrong to blow it off.
Anger dressed sharply.
He was beaming.
He'd made callbacks last time.
They wondered why they didn't hire Anger in the first place.
Savagery and Sadism were friends.
They came together.
Like twins competing in a singing contest.
As of now, management is still deliberating.
A guy who temps there sometimes told me that
They kind of regretted meeting so many candidates.
The apocalypse was spoiled for choice.
I work in supplies.
I leased new horses.
I bought a bow, and a crown for the first guy.
The second guy's sword was serviceable still.
I had it oiled.
The scales for whoever rides the black horse are a pain to find.
Who uses scales? It's all digital now.
I actually scoured the head shops on East Colfax.
Weed dealers still work analog, sometimes.
Look, I must admit, the script is ace.
They went through many drafts.
I can hear them warming up already.
Come and see, says the second beast.
Come and see, says the third.
People get caught up in it.
I try not to.
I go home at night.
I sleep good.
I eat well.
I read detective books in bed.
This job's just show business to me.
from the Pookestra -- HERZKOPF dances,
released December 12, 2012
MikeDoughty • voice
Carolin Pook • violin_toypiano_electronic bass drum
Christof Knoche • harmonica
David Mason • drums_elctronics
Carolin Pook is a dramatic violinist/drummer and nonstylistic composer. She has been comissioned to write for the Deutsche
Radiophilharmonie, Roy Hargrove Quintet and recently for Free Jazz master Peter Brötzmann + 8 percussionists. You will find Carolin Pook perform in the NYC area either with the Pookestra or various Hot Club, Burlesque, wild Gypsy Jazz events. Every performance is a dance....more