restricted access G. G. Belli
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G. G. Belli 297  G. G. Belli (1791–1863) The Creation of the World The year that Jesus baked the world, he found The dough was there already that he kneaded; Wanting to make it big and green and round, He traced a watermelon and proceeded. He made a sun, a moon, a globe—just one of each, Though he made a pile of stars out of the dough: He set birds over beasts, beasts above fish: He planted the plants, then said, “That’s it—I’m through.” Forgot to tell you that he made a person, A man—and then a woman, Eve and Adam, And this apple that he put some sort of curse on. And he yelled, by God, as loud as he knew how, Soon as he saw that they had disobeyed him, “Folks of the future, you are fucked up now!” The Life of Man Nine months in the stench: and then in swaddling bound, Among the kisses, the milksops, and the bawling; Then strapped into a basket, hauled around With a stiff neck brace to keep the head from falling. Then there begin the torments of the school, The ABCs, the cold, the cane’s hard knocks, Measles, the potty seat, the squeezed-out stool, A touch of scarlet fever, chickenpox. Then hunger comes, and weariness, a trade, The rent, the jailhouse, and the government, The hospitals, the debts, the getting laid; 298 Romanesco The scorching summer and the winter’s snow . . . Then, blessèd be God’s name, when life is spent, Comes death to finish it with hell below. The Worldwide Flood God says to Noah, “Listen, Patriarch, You and your sons fetch hatchets, I’ll provide The blueprints and you build for me an ark To my design: this high, this long, this wide. “Then make a roof for it [So says the Lord], “Just like the boat at Porto de Ripetta; And when you’ve got her yare as you can get ’er, Take beasts from everywhere and get on board! “The worldwide flood that’s coming, kid you not, Will make those fountains out at Tivoli Look like an overflowing chamber pot. “You’ll know that it’s the right time to abandon Ship, when you see a rainbow in the sky; Just screw the mud and sow the site you land on!” Free Trade Well? I’m a whore! Behind my little gate I show myself, I do, and sell my hide. I take it in the narrow and the wide. Cat got your tongue? Isn’t my life great? Once, Mister Dickbrain, I was pure, a maiden Like other maidens, just as chaste as any; Now anyone can have me who has money, Here on a bed that everyone’s got laid in. G. G. Belli 299  You know what riles me? Not that I’m a whore, That’s well and good, and when the bed is shakin’, No job in this whole world could please me more. It’s high-class ladies who pretend to be So virtuous, but, seeing what I rake in By whoring, steal my customers from me! A Dog’s Life You call this idleness, you idiots? You say the Pope does nothing? Nothing, eh? May you be damned for belittling the way He labors through the grueling days and nights. Who speaks to God Almighty in his chapel? Who pardons whoreson rogues for their offenses? Who sends out barrels of indulgences? Who blesses, from his coach-and-four, the people? Who counts the little coins up of his pelf? Who helps him with the cardinals he invests? Who else may levy taxes but himself? And what of the fatigue that must set in From tearing up petitions and requests And tossing all the scraps into the bin? The Popess Joan A woman right enough, who first of all Exchanged her apron for a soldier’s billet, And then became a priest and then a prelate, A bishop then, at last a cardinal. And when the ruling pope, a manly one, Took ill (from poisoning, some say) and died, 300 Romanesco She was made pope herself and given a ride To Saint John Lateran on the papal throne. To make our little comedy complete, She unexpectedly goes into labor And drops a baby boy right on the seat. Since then they’ve used a seat with a hole to assess The goods from underneath, and thus discover If the Pontiff...