The Pharaoh


the pharaoh is fallen into his own aura, the dust and hate and shit and truth of it, through the zero of the media halo, into the darkness of the pyramid’s interior (which is not, alas, pyramid-shaped), into traps set for him, into soliloquys of modern shakespeareans, into the compressions of his bunker.

only an air-bed cushions him from the nadir, the belief-systems of the soil, the underground polis. he is fallen far from the ordinary mind, splashing into a sea of kicks. his hieroglyphs, his trigonometry are no longer the liquid bread he once gifted to the breadless. his hair is agon-bleached, whale-white. in the formless darkness he fumbles for a machine.

the pharaoh no longer feels his own solidity or liquidity, but only his gas, his miasma. even as he thinks, he seeps. he hears nothing in the silence from Thoth or Imhotep, former advisors whose former advice he ignored. ‘it is not death, more of an antechamber’, he thinks of his environs, missing what was palatial, the great house of etymology. his anubi are the journalists he feeds, patting their gloss-black shanks, and who lovingly nibble his hands as he does so. their gratitude and cynicism are canine to the bone.

his pharaonic days are done. there is no sun. the scarab is dead beneath his ball of shit. he breakfasts on law who used to break it, as once he broke the curse of the sphinx. now he is the sphinx. (is that promotion or demotion?) ‘I like crushing bastards’ he said at the job interview. now the cleverest bastards in the world – i.e. at this kind of crap – are crushing him back.

a giant arm and fist from the British Museum is punching his glass jaw, pounding his kidneys.

the sea of kicks is remorseless, the iron shoes of the sea-horses barbaric.

even the Minister for Johnny Foreigners spots his chance and aims one at the pharaoh’s sweetmeats.


Text: Niall McDevitt

Image: Claire Palmer



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