“Babylon the Great” by Louis Flint Ceci

This city is destroyed each afternoon.
All day, the deluge hovers near
Presidio, until at five
It plunges down the Haight, its tongues as thick

As semen, swallowing Divisidero,
Polk, snaking round the wharf
And closing like a jaw on the
Financial district, crossing Market, seeping

Into stone and plaster till the Mission
Dims and drowns in milky twilight.
The citizens are not dismayed.
Though they may tremble in their beds at night

Rocked by carnal fear or lust or just
The San Andreas, prophets singing
Dies Irae in their ears
Catastrophes both intimate and public

Will not shake their civic faith. “Fallen,
Fallen is Babylon the Great!”
But what of that? All states are states
Of grace, wild, changing as the fog

That comes despite the best of days
And goes depite the night. Baptism
Or flames may do their best, but Babylon
The Great will rise again at dawn.


Louis Flint Ceci’s poetry has been published in Colorado North Review and Impossible Archetype, and read on PRI’s Living on Earth; his translation of R. Williams Parry’s “Hedd Wyn” was used in the BBC Wales centennial commemoration of Wyn’s death in 2017. Ceci’s short stories have appeared in Diseased Pariah NewsTrikone, and Jonathan, and in the anthologies Queer and CatholicGay City Volume 4: At Second Glance; and Saints+Sinners 2017: New Fiction from the Festival. He is the founder and chief editor at Beautiful Dreamer Press.