Skip to main content

Vision of the End of the World in the Valdosta Holiday Inn

ISSUE:  Summer 2005

About the nether world, I would rather live in Manhattan,
Kansas, and belong to the garden club
except for Fiona Hubbard and Mrs. John Widman III,
who are setting up for a PowerPoint presentation
on November’s topic: the care and nourishment
of cacti in the great plains. In the paper today
215 dead in Lagos at a beauty pageant riot,
and last night on C-Span, Salman Rushdie held forth
eloquently before I switched to another channel,
and lo there appeared Louis Farrakhan saying
governments might have power, but his God
would bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes.
When he said it, a fuse lit in his eyes, his voice shook
and those big bodyguards drew in tight around him.
About the nether world, some believe it is here now,
but Fiona Hubbard, in a cashmere cardigan
and tweed riding britches, is double clicking on an image
of the desert rose, and Mrs. John Widman III
is saying one might be surprised how easily
it can be cultivated, even here in Manhattan
where everyone who thinks she is not dead wants to retire
to Albuquerque or Santa Fe. Some cite
the days of sunshine, others miscellaneous allergies.
Salman Rushdie is a master. When it comes time
to answer, he has a way of turning
the spiteful questions around. Louis Farrakhan
reminds one of a wonderful little boy.
He can be hilarious with his understated apocalyptic
sexual innuendos, and one can only admire
his capacity, in the length of one breath
to segue from the laugh to righteous indignation.
As one watches first one, then the other,
one wishes that they could agree on a common text,
maybe the troops gathering in the desert
for the Twenty-First Century’s first world war,
or perhaps it would be Fiona Hubbard’s
and Mrs. John Widman III’s PowerPoint presentation
on the care and nourishment of cacti in the great plains.


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Recommended Reading