He always brought along his own wine.
Only his own vine could provide
the wine he would drink. "Fred,"
I said, "your values are so old, yet
you're always jawing about 'we moderns.'
I smell a fault." His laughter, so
joyful when he let it go, golden and free,
reproached me for seeing paradox
as inconsistency. "Truly," he said,
eyes moist, "I am greeker than the Greeks.
Who was it who treated wine in so
antithetic a manner that, since him,
it has become undrinkable?" Raising
his glass, half toast, half consecration,
he drained it to the dregs. "Ahh,"
he said, wiping with a wrist those wide
and famous walrus whiskers, "then too,
I am still too German, drinking
the finest delicacies as though so much
bürgerliches Bier. We moderns," now
eyeing me closely, "what do we care
for French aesthetics, English manners
and sensitive souls? We are barbarians
inside and out." He coughed, clearing
his throat of excess phlegm. I smiled.
Already his comments were almost drowned
under the tide of amplified sound
emanating from the jukebox. "Even popular
music is art to us," he added, face pensive,
eyes distant and clear, "Dionysus has
many avatars, not all of them Epigoni."
For Nietzsche's Birthday (Oct. 15, 1844)