House of Xerxes

Paul Violi

Here come those splendid Persians!
We were expecting fireworks
And here they are!
Short bows, long arrows,
colorful long-sleeve shirts
Under iron breastplates--
Nice fish-scale pattern on those breastplates.
Just the right beach touch, very decky.
Quivers dangling under wicker-worky shields,
A casual touch, that.
And those floppy felt caps
Make it very wearable, very sporty.
Huge amounts of gold,
A killer-look feel
But it still says A Day at the Shore.

Now those bumping, thumping Assyrians.
A nice mix here: bronze helmets
Or plaited headgear.
Shields, spears, daggers,
The iron studs on those wooden clubs
A subtle retro bit.
And right on their heels the Bactrians!
A sort of butch-and-bitch combo,
Not tidy, not prim, almost
A dare-to-wear outfit.
And look at that headgear!
Whatever were they thinking?
And the bows, cane bows
Bringing back that beach scene scream.
Somebody’s been smitten by cane.

Tromping right along: The Sacae!
Scythians with a scowl.
Plenty of flounce and pout but somehow
It all spells powerhouse.
Stiff, pointed helmets and loose trousers,
Bows, daggers, battleaxes:
Just look at these ratty party boys.
Itchy and raw, apocalyptic but functional.
Takes us away from the beach look
But how can you not love them?

Look at these Sarangae!
Are we ready for this?
Caspian jackets, cane bows,
This is the most colorful yet,
A lot of lavender, a lot of white and blue,
Colorama glamorama.
A little raggedy, a little trashy
Yet a narrow silhouette.
Narrow but masculine for sure.
Just what are these boys up to?

Oh, now how can you not love
These madcap Ethiopians.
Leopard skins and lion pelts,
Long, long bows made of palm fronds.
Stone arrow heads, not iron, mind you.
And matching signet rings.
Details, details a must
If you want to gain that total look.
Spear heads made of gazelle horns.
Now that is a new twist.
And who thought of this—body paint!
Half white chalk, half ochre.
The all around mix and match
A big directional, indeed.

Check out the headgear!
A horse’s scalp
Including ears and mane
For cryin’ out loud.
The mane a crest, the ears stiff and upright,
Very jaunty, very focused.
Somebody pinch me!

Now who’s this?
Good grief, are we ready for the Libyans?
The brocade scaled back, thank god.
A big sulky leather look.
It’s a bomber-jacket feeling.
I get a bomber-jacket feeling from this.
Javelins with burnt tips, daggers,
Minimal action gear but spiffy.

You don’t want to miss this.
What a welcome
For the Paphlagonian cuties.
Marching, tromping right in.
Small shields, medium-length spears,
Javelins and daggers—overloaded
You might say, but
Why in heaven’s name not?

Get a load of what’s been done
With the traditional booties.
Half way up the shin.
A booty and greave combo.
Now how cute is that?
And everyone agrees
Under those plaited helmets
Those Paphlagonians
Have the curliest hair in the world.

Here come the Thracians.
Javelins, bucklets, small daggers.
Fox-skin caps, colorful tunics,
Fawn-skin boots, wooden helmets,
You just know how great
Their gorgeous garb makes them feel.

And right on their heels—The Pisidae
Another wardrobe pick-me-up.
With their small shields, two spears each,
And bronze helmets shaped
Into the ears and horns of an ox.
What a way to say: Surprise!

A very jaunty crest,
Red cloth wrapped around their legs,
Fashionable yet functional,
Smart but approachable,
Sporty in a tongue-in-chic sort of way

You don’t want to miss this!
Barefoot Sagartians, with lariats!
No optionals, nothing but lariats.
Now that is new.
No fashion fears here.
The total look flouncy, loose and extra large.

Turbaned Cyprians
With high high high high greaves!
Wood bows, cane arrows
And goatskin capes—a cape
You could wear with anything.
Felt caps trimmed with feathers.
Dangling daggers, billhooks!
Untreated ox-hide vests.
Something we’d want in our closet.
Lion, tiger, fox and ox: the full idiom.
Upbeat and very wearable,
A dose of novelty, a dose
Of frivolity—a definite smash.

They are having a good time up there.
Rough and raw yet a lot of flash.
Lavish, zippy, sleek.
Where is it all going?
An etude for today’s world.
A dressy apocalyptic beach look.
A high-octane action look.
A premium blend of guts
And sass and imagination.
Feel the frenzy.

A big round of applause for the whole spectrum,
For a very big directional
That can’t help but whip it up.
Who’s able to take it all in?
Everyone’s breathless.
Today we’re making history.
We’re raising cane.