“The Floating Bridge of Baiae” by Jody Kennedy

"Tempt" by Madeline Partner / madelinepartner.com

I want a bridge fifteen thousand pedes long and twelve hundred pedes wide—one that floats atop the Bay of Baiae on which I shall traverse like a blazing comet while mounted upon my beloved white steed despite what that cuckold astrologer Thrasyllus said about my faulty electoral win. My rebuke will be flagrant as I am carried along steadfastly and upright with Aeolus, the wind God, and his four virile sons and my sister’s skirts will be puffed out and awaiting my glorious and triumphant entry into the port of Puteoli. Yes, you heard me, I want my very own parade, full military regalia the biggest and most badass since that Russian one on the anniversary of the Great Patriotic War. My marble bust will be lovingly sculpted until every hair on my Louis XIV style wig is dusted and powdered with orange blossom and lavender pillaged from my South of France gardens and though it is a well-documented fact that I do not suffer any type of alopecia whatsoever my reputation and potency will remain indisputable. Let it be known that I shall henceforth be called Beloved Emperor, God-Given, Holy of Holies, and The Handsome One, and so off with your heads you treasonous masses! I will trample you with exacting vengeance under my sweaty size 12 riding shoe. Let the naysayers naysay, let the doubters doubt. Just look at my ripped body draped in this gold lamé cloak, be amazed at how I sizzle in Alexander the Great’s breastplate. See how I mount my horse in a manly fashion. See how the ladies love me and my Saint Laurent Zip Wallet. See how I suffer not bouts of sweetness nor resist the temptation to revisit the old Massacre of Novgorod. See how I die not in the Tower of London. No, let it be known that my nightly bedchambers are warmed two hours in advance, my porridge prepared with a dollop of cream. Let the guillotine be sharpened. Let the Pope be put under and the divorce papers drawn up. Let the kitchen counters remain spotless and let the nursemaids stay near because remember: I do not do diapers! Let the courtesans’ ample bosoms runneth over. Let my wife keep busy with the floral arrangements and let me, on this eve of my magnificent gallop across the floating bridge of Baiae, woo you with my porn-worthy foreplay, let me show you what’s hidden underneath these silky pajamas, and let us recline together on my Fabio Leather Cinema Sofa where I shall take full command of the remote control and delight you with a private showing of the erotic 1979 Penthouse film about a crazy Roman emperor named Caligula.



Jody Kennedy is a writer and photographer living in Provence, France. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Juked, CutBank OnlineDIAGRAM, Tin House Online, and Electric Literature, among others.