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A Circle of 5ths

Part One:  THE MAD HISTORIAN

Someday a great historian will shiver in his bed
and wish again that he'd become a janitor instead.
He'll curse that nagging tendency to study history,
his secret, sick obsession with that morbid century.
  But with the dawn he'll read again forbidden, ancient text
  and wonder if those people knew just what was coming next;
  the mixing of brutalities with black technologies,
  the coming judgment from above that brought them to their knees.

    By candlelight he scans the words for secret little signs;
    for subtle indications tucked away between the lines,
    for hidden clues that might explain the source of all their pain,
    or how these titans of the past would come to go insane.

The box of hidden photographs he studies through the day,
with hopes to better understand what led them all astray.
Displayed in stark reality, a rising cruelty;
exploding shells of mustard gas on faded imagery.

Decaying stacks of corpses by the crematorium;
the ancient ghastly evidence of what they had become.
Machines designed as predators for use within their wars,
with soldiers living deep inside, behind the bolted doors.

The ocean beaches crimson red from bodies floating near;
atomic blasts and firestorms as cities disappear.
From high above an air machine with jellied gasoline;
while down below the jungle burns in carnage now routine.

  Collective ghosts in photographs, the voices of the dead,
  they reach for him through plains of time and speak inside his head.
  They share with him a memory of wanton savagery,
  from years when all that cursed our souls would finally break free.

  He trembles in the fading light at history revealed,
  and understands decisions made which keep the records sealed;
  for millions die with horrid screams in tortured, nightly dreams,
  while what remains of sanity gets pushed beyond extremes.

A nagging riddle then returns to haunt his mind again.
The fate of ancient relatives, of gods that could have been;
what lesson did they all ignore, what final global war?
what cataclysm set them back a thousand years or more?
   He sips a strong intoxicant to make his mind go numb,
   but fights the growing need to sleep in fear of dreams to come.
   He hides his artifacts away and ends another day,
   with ghastly sights of history inside his head to stay.
  Someday a mad historian will lose control of dreams.
He'll bang his head on padded walls and echo ancient screams.
He'll gouge his eyes in agony and beg to be set free,
from sights and sounds endemic to that morbid century.
- MadGerman
Part 2: AMERICA

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