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Belphegor, Lord of the Gap, Hell’s Ambassador to France
by Scott McKendry

Bradypus variegates, the brown-throated three-toed sloth,

is surely the laziest bastard in the South American jungle.

 

Once a week, s/he climbs down from the high canopy

into the O horizon, where s/he takes a shite on the detritus.

 

This is dangerous, as there are jaguars there, and yourselves.

Is the brown-throated three-toed sloth afraid? Is s/he fuck.

 

You would cootchie-woo coochie-wootchie-coo any sloth.

So would I. But s/he neither wants nor needs our affection;

 

nor our sympathy when the harpy eagle swoops in for the kill.

Taking it in their stride, all sloths know evil, and this isn’t it.

 

Would you cootchie-woo coochie-wootchie-coo a layabout?

a human one? Would you fuck. You’d say, ‘Pull yourself up

 

by your bootstraps, away out and work or start a revolution.’

And you wouldn’t cootchie woochie-coo a beggar neither.

 

Harpy eagles don’t beg for brown-throated three-toed sloths –

like all good entrepreneurs amongst the Homines sapientes

 

they go out and take the bastarding bull by the bastarding horns.

You would feed a ploughman’s lunch to a harpy eagle. Admit it.

 

The Knorr cryodesiccated noodle ship would be touring along

the river creating a market amongst the Amazonian tribespeople

 

and you’d be cootchie-woo coochie-wootchie-cooing a sloth;

or feeding bits of Red Leicester and pickle to a hungry harpy eagle

 

from a bumbag slung over a branch. And I, Belphegor, would be

egging you on. ‘Go on love,’ I’d say, ‘that’s fucking ingenious.’

 

Scott McKendry

 

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