BOOK X

O Eris, it was you, wasn’t it, you who were snubbed, not invited to the wedding,
And why would you be, you, who only cause trouble!
But yes, you’d picked that flowing Vera Wang dress and Jimmy Choo sandals,
Handmade by Thorin’s dwarves from snake-printed leather, open-toed;
How angry you were, o scorned goddess! White-armed Hera, she attended, oh yes,
As did golden Aphrodite and the warrior goddess Pallas Athena too,
To the marriage of Pelius and Thetis, not nearly as cool as Harry and Meghan’s,
After all, what beats horse-drawn carriages, the Palace at Windsor, the Queen!
But anyway – to that ancient ceremony, no, you were not asked.
Summoning all your awful powers of strife,
Yes, and of pain and lies and quarrels, revenge and retribution
For as Zeus is Lord of Thunder and Poseidon, the wine-dark sea,
So you, goddess, fan the flames of anger and hateful argument among mortals.
Yes, it was you who fashioned the fateful Fruit, the Apple of Discord,
Inscribed with the simple words “For the fairest,”
Finding the gossiping goddesses sipping divine lattes,
Tossed the fiendish Fuji to them, inflaming their delicate vanities,
Each of the three believing it to be for her. They chose
Paris Alexandros, Prince of doomed Ilium, to pick the loveliest,
And so were a thousand ships launched and so many men lost.

But that was nothing, was it, divine Eris, you who drive division,
Black-haired sister of Ares, the war-maker: victorious, defeated, you care not,
For it is the slaughter that pleasures you! And such chaos has not been created
No, not ever! As was that cold night in November. So busy you were!

Yes, the Klansmen surfaced, the rednecks, the true believers,
But others took to city streets as well, lefties, women, students,
Acolytes of Hillary, they sensed something amiss, outraged,
He who could grab them, wherever, elevated to Chief Executive!
That night under cold skies the Pantsuit Nation was born, marching across the land.
Wrenched asunder was the once-united land, into blue and red
Brother against brother, angry uncle against smartass college niece
Never again a peaceful Thanksgiving dinner!

Into the gleaming marble drawing room, ignorant of the fray below
Emerged wide-eyed, unbelieving, the Man of Manhattan, the Winner,
The Trump,
The TrumpPresident-Elect of the United States.
The Trump President-Elect of the United StatesCould it really be?
He wondered to himself, careful not to let his doubting thoughts show.
“Look, Daddy,” squeaked lovely Ivanka, she’d just now changed,
Refreshed her makeup, a bit of botox in the lips, drooping slightly,
“You won! You really did!” she added, just to make sure he knew.
“Can mousey Jared and I have the Lincoln Bedroom?” she wanted to know,
“Wh- what?” her rodentish spouse started, but the Trump couldn’t be bothered,
Not with such trivia, not now, maybe tomorrow. No, now was for winning!
For rubbing it in! For that most satisfying of human acts: payback!

What was oily-mouthed Pence saying? The Trump had never really liked him,
Unctuous, righteous, holier-than-him.
Unctuous, righteous, holier-than-him.“Mister President-Elect, I congratulate you,
Of course, and perhaps it might be the time for healing, to bring together
A divided nation, a people rent in two by these last few months,
A time for conciliation and olive-branch-holding-out,
To extinguish the angry passions, to unify, to kneel and pray
For the guidance of the one true God…don’t you think?”

Eyes flashing, the Trump mocked the Vice-President-Elect,
“Mikepence,” he began, “what the hell is wrong with you, no, really?
Now is the time to exult, to gloat, to laugh at our defeated enemies,
To revel in victory, to reward those loyal to us, to punish the rest…”
A thought came to him, little did he know, planted by Artemis herself,
“Yes! Yes! Now that we have the presidency: let us enjoy it!”

Michael Cohen spoke, lawyer to the corpulent casino-man,
“Mister Trump?”
Mister Trump?And the Trump rewarded him with a hand on the shoulder.
“Yes, Michael, Long Islander, proud fruit of Nassau County, what is it?”
Cohen gulped, hesitated, then replied, “Mister Trump –”
“You mean Mister President-Elect, don’t you, Michael?”
For the Trump, he knew how to correct people!
“Yes, sir,” and Cohen, Stormy’s paymaster, and for many others too,
Gulped again, pointed to the television, 80-inch, OLED, the very best made,
“Perhaps Mister Pence is right, they are marching –”
The Orange One turned his gaze to the big Samsung on the wall,
High-contrast colors practically bursting from the screen,
Were they—were they – protesting him? Couldn’t be!

Then, from the depths of his sigmoid colon, crowded out by remains of dinner,
Half-digested, wagyu beef, marbled, slowly decomposing,
Chemical reactions, compounds and atoms rearranging, gurgling, then
Gaseous molecules wondrous in their molecular complexity
Up through the descending colon, then the traverse colon,
Where what had been a perfect chocolate tort awaited final digestion,
Simmered, occasionally erupting in a whoosh of fragrant vapor,
And up again through the pyloric sphincter to the cavernous stomach,
So like the Caves of Carlsbad, it echoed, and again up,
Through the gates of the esophageal sphincter, so like
Scylla and Charybdis, higher, ever higher,
Finally reaching its goal, the Mouth of the Man of Manhattan,
Out it came:
Out it came:“Fake news.”
Out it came: Fake news “” “What?” the company shouted in unison,
What?”
What??Shrug did the Trump, “It’s fake news. Fake. Made up!”
He spoke to them, uttering these very words,
“The mainstream media, they have always been against us!”
They have! They have! Stunned, mouths agape, they were struck silent
In wonder; a new concept, simple, brilliant, inspiring,
Only from the Trump himself, the very one, could it have arisen,
Facts – who cares? They are – inconveniences! Irrelevant!
Fake! O, how the world can turn on the smallest phrase, and so it did,
How privileged, how honored they felt, to be in that place, that room,
That night. To question Truth! To deny that which is right before you!
Right there, in the tower of the Trump, the foundations of philosophy,
Constructed over the ages, from Socrates to Schopenhauer, shook;
With these short words the Trump entered the pantheon of scholars
The world does not exist objectively, but is a matter of perception,
No: of desired perception; how you wish reality to be, is
Especially if you can afford it. Which he could.

And the guardians of those antique notions, under the studio lights
The reporters of fact, oh, so self-important and pompous,
Lester and childlike David Muir, and even his holiness, godlike Scottpelley,
Soon they would feel the shock wave of the Thought of Trump,
Radiating from Fifth Avenue’s golden Tower out through the city, and beyond.

“I won,” affirmed that most Prodigious Consumer of French-Fried Potatoes,
“Didn’t I?” and all the heads in the room bounced up and down,
Like a Lebron dribble on newly waxed parquet.
Like a Lebron dribble on newly waxed parquet“A landslide, yes!
“Biggest margin ever! O sweet victory! Daughter –” he addressed
Radiant Ivanka, graced her with his wise words,
“Know this, my child: better than winning is someone else losing!
Yes, I trounced her, from coast to coast, everyone loves me,
Hateful Hillary, hurtful Hillary, humorless Hillary, she is no more,
A landslide, yes?”
A landslide, yes? The heads nodded, tho’ not as enthusiastically.
A landslide, yes? The heads nodded, tho’ not as enthusiastically. “Hmm?”
Wavy-haired Bannon looked to Kellyanne, who in turn eyed Jared, who shrank,
Hid behind his well-contoured wife. Frowning, she looked to Cohen, and
Realizing there was no one else to look to, the councilor to the Trump spoke,
“Umm, sir, I’m so sorry to tell you this, but Hillary –”
“Umm, sir, I’m so sorry to tell you this, but Hillary –”“What about her?”
The Trump thundered, and Cohen’s face blanched in terror. Bravely he continued,
“She got more votes than you, three million more Americans.”
“But I won, you said!”
But I wonn you said“Yes, sir, the Electoral College –”
“The what?”
The What?“Um, sort of like an Appeals Court—”
The what? um,, sort of like an appeals court —“Oh, I always win in Appeals.”
The Trump took all this in for a moment. “Hmm!” he sniffed.
Slowly he paced along the floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooking the
Never-sleeping city. “Fake news!” he cried, “fake news!
We have won a great victory, the greatest ever, no one ever won by more,
Anything else is fake news!”
Anything else is fake news!”They all, all of them danced, a little victory jig,
Celebrating the end of truth, of facts, of logic and of reason,
Deny what you see! It’s right there in front of you? No it isn’t!
No longer any need to spin: it didn’t happen!
The beginning of a New Age, the Age of Trump!
The beginning of a New Age, the Age of Trump!The telephone rang
A Hollywood Regency, Italian crystal with gleaming gold plate,
Very few like it in the world, very rare, very expensive,
Hand carved by skilled Triacans from pure Andorian dilithium
And in his first official act, the Trump placed his hand on the receiver,
Picked it up, held it to his fleshy ear.
Picked it up, held it to his fleshy ear.“Hello Donald, it is Hillary.”
His carrot-colored face, picture of health, hours on the tanning bed
Paled to a shade of sickly lemon: the Woman of Wellesley on the line!
What could she want? Why would she call? Was it all some dastardly trick?
“O Donald,” she began, “Our bitter battle has come to an end,
Thou hast vanquished me in furious but fair fight,
Our armies lie exhausted across the blood-strewn fields of conflict,
The hard-hearted gods, dwellers in cloud-covered Olympus,
Have blessed you with their divine favor, and have deserted me,
Left me bereft, in tears and in torment, with young Chelsea
So innocent, pressed to my breast. O what of us now?
To be thrust into harsh labor, silenced, imprisoned,
Behind cold bars, confined, away, to long for dearest Bill.
My pride, my strength, my cold logic, how I regret them now.
Will I be made to perform terrible acts at Sing-Sing or Joliet?
While Chelsea, purer than snow, in rags begs for scraps and morsels!
So forlorn am I, a deer that can find no pasture,
Spare thy revenge, have thou mercy upon me, give me your pity;
Defeated, distraught, I throw myself at your Armani-clad feet!”
Nor was the Trump unmoved by her words, and who would not be?
Furrowing his brows, he replied,
Furrowing his brows, he replied,“What?”
“What what?” Bill’s wife responded in turn.
“I, uh, don’t understand,” the Trump explained, “why’re you calling?”
The Woman sighed, a deep sigh, carrying profound sadness,
A melancholy that could never, would never be cured, and then:
“I’m calling to concede. You won. I lost. It’s customary.”
“I’m calling to concede. You won. I lost. It’s customary.”“Oh.”

After that the Trump’s telephone rang again, many times.
From every nook of the planet they called,
World leaders, beginning with black-haired Peña Nieto,
Lord of Mexicans, inheritor of blessed Benito Juarez,
“Congratulations, Mister President-Elect,” began Enrique,
“Why thank you –“
Why thank you “And never, ever, will my beloved country,
Home of the pure agave, do your accursed bidding!
From the Pacific shores of Baja, where whales frolic,
To forested Jalisco, home of Santiago de Tequila, purest of drinks
From the Valley of Sonora to the snowcapped mountains of Sierra Madre
From Aguascalientes to Zacatecas rich in silver
Never, sir, will we render tribute unto you, no wall will
My beloved people finance, never!”
My beloved people finance, never!”How he taunted the Trump!
Tension-filled moments passed while the hot-blooded Man of Manhattan
Considered his response. His face reddened with anger; his eyes flashed;
In fear Michael Cohen and owlish Bannon stepped back.
“Oh, how you have disrespected me, Enrique,
Leader of a little land, and I shall not forget it,
You’ll give me glory, and gold, oh yes! With it a great wall I’ll construct
Most vast than China’s, and at your expense, oh yes!
No longer will they come, no, not your poor nor your huddled masses
Your wretched refuse, yearning to be free, keep them
Your Spanish-speakers, incomprehensible, talking so fast;
I the Trump, the one, newly elected by right-thinking America,
I will block them, the robbers and rapists and job-stealers,
From the lands of Tostada and Jalapeno and far-off Fajita
They’ll be trapped there, no taco-eaters here!
Your very destruction, yes, you have set in motion here tonight!”
The mighty chest of the Trump puffed out as he hung up,
To applause and hearty cheers from all assembled.
For he knew how to handle them, the American President (-Elect)!

After that Erdogan, leader of the fierce Turks, rang,
To pay homage to the Trump. “A great and noble ally is Turkey,”
The Orange One solemnly declared, and added these words,
“Please, to all your peace-loving citizens send my friendly words
I have always treasured Turkey, bathed in creamy gravy
And scarlet-colored cranberry sauce, with mashed potatoes.”
At this the Trump brightened, perceiving Erdogan to be well-pleased
Though Bolton, for some reason, seemed alarmed.

Then Ireland’s chieftain, the Taoiseach, leader of the 32nd Dáil,
Dialed the Trump, and golf, at five-star Doonbeg,
The Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland, none other,
Was on the agenda! Oh, the fourteenth hole, so beautiful, none like it,
Its verdant fairway lapped by glistening ocean waves! They hit it off!

Al-Sisi called, strongman of ancient Egypt, to congratulate the Orange One,
Graciously the Trump responded, praising the pyramids,
Inquired if they could be flipped, converted to luxury condos.
Modi of India as well, the Trump, so sensitive, asked if he was Cherokee or Navajo;
Then bibulous Bibi, fearsome defender, protector of his ancient people,
He rang, and was thrilled as the Trump proclaimed his love
For lawyers – how proud was Cohen! –  and doctors and bagels.

Turnbull of Australia, great lord of the hopping kangaroos, was next, then
Abe of Japan, how do you see through those eyes, the Trump wanted to know
Lastly Park Geun-hye, queen of Korea, dictatress, daughter of a dictator,
Paid her respects, very deeply felt. Tho’ neither could guess,
Soon she’d be found guilty, sentenced, jailed forever.

Finally the Trump yawned, vast amounts of air entering his gaping maw,
And no more calls were taken. Time for bed.
And no more calls were taken. Time for bed.”In her room Melania
Smoothed the silken dress on her lithe body, and peeked out
First Christie, then Cohen, Bannon, Kellyanne, Jared, even Ivanka
Knelt, kissed her husband’s hand, swore allegiance, paid obeisance
Swore their eternal fealty
Swore their eternal fealtyTo the new capo di tutti capi
The Donald of all the Donalds.