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October 13, 2018
October 15, 2018

Rome is Burning



And did it burn. Exploded into fireflies and heat and ember. The smoke rose high above. Nobody minded the remnants, detritus, afterthoughts. It was only the spectacle the enraptured us.

It is said to be 451 degrees F. That’s the number Ray attached to it. It seems that number may be only 45.

The Ghosts of Greed and Power float and slice above the fray.

The fireman turned the flame away from the building. That, at least, was still useful. The building. More easily used for profit and loss; counting digits. The contents were carted out by the sentinels of this citadel. Tears streamed down their cheeks as they piled them in the center square no longer allowed to spark but become ash.

“When was the last time an adult used the library?” he laughed.

“Men are strong and women are weak. We use our backs and women, they have emotions so they may care for the children,” he continued.

Cars slowed as they passed. Stopped when the lights were red. Others honked in annoyance urging those in front to move on, there were places to go. Important… I like that song. You should never burn the flag!

A man looked to the pyre and wondered, “Why?” His phone squealed like a piglet and he looked to see an alert that his team had announced a new jersey! He turned and walked away, head tilted, eyes fixed. The light had changed. He walked across the street without so much as a glance up. The driver, a mature man with the lines of experience on his face pulled out his middle finger and tucked the others away. But nobody noticed. Only his anger was fed.

The flames reached into his heart, he was sure they were for him. He picked up his phone and told the world with his (blue checkmark) and 140 characters, now 280. People listened and he knew. They would hear him.

Perhaps it’s 10, or 25, 1776, 1917, ’38? Most wouldn’t know. They don’t read. Willful, prideful, ignorant. To the earth. To weather. To each other.

The ghosts float above and all around. All Quiet on the Western Front. 7th inning stretch? God Bless America. Each cut bleeds a little more.

The other one laughs. Never laughs. Rides his horse shirtless. He is richer than the family Romanov. But his homeland has suffered. So, the enemy will as well. They will turn on themselves. Too much freedom breeds too much choice. They will not react. Should not. Won’t. The buffoon will blow them up. Not with bombs but smut.

Freedom. Liberty! Protect the Constitution! Which is your pillar? The First or the Second? The Fifth or 15? Take none in a vacuum. But all in a feed. You have sold it all. Often by donating to each. Granular focus, ignoring the beach for the grain of sand.



Jeffrey Messineo runs a small web shop after starting his career cutting video and film. He lives in Southern California with his wife and two boys and can be found on @jeffmessineo or