There is spring thunder in the mountains.
Thiothew! A distant thunder of God, rolling thick
Across the sulfur plain.
Brings westward in a fen breath air a shower of rain.
The east wind found me in a dry month deep in my dry hole
Counting. Minus five minutes and counting.
One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready
And four to go.
Minus ten seconds and counting.
And the green grass grew all around all around
And the green grass grew all around.
. . . .
We had a depression until we spent ourselves rich,
Listening to the voice on the radio telling us not to fear fear.
Not to fear breadlines being bums,
Or the PWA or the WPA or the CCC or the NRA
Or the Wagner Act or other tired clichés, saying:
Fear not, we will feed you, only
Give us your souls, for that
Is Progress at its modern,
But above all, you mustn't fear FEAR! damn you,
For that is upsetting to the ADMINISTRATION!
And then at the brown brink eastward sprang war,
And we had something besides fear to fear,
And that was progress.
Oh God give us VICTORY! Do you hear, God? Are you there
God? Our cause is righteous. We fight for right and Liberty,
And see, Lord, they are killing the Jews, gassing
The Jews and the ovens stink, Lord. Give us
Victory, God. Give us
There was a new Jerusalem.
In place of certain unalienable rights we got
Four Freedoms, boiling out of the radio in an oily smear,
And one of them was Freedom from Fear!
Among which are the right
From each according to his ability
To each, life,
Liberty and the pursuit
According to his need
In the land of the morning calm
We found a gallant war with ribbons
And some of the men flashing away into the dark,
Where the green grass grew all around.
And the East wind, raining,
Brings a fecal stink.
. . . .
Amid the cacophony God sits apart,
Numbering the leaves.
Lord of the Ladders
On the fifth day the void lay all unbroken
And no bird sang.
On the sixth day, the green
Saturday of creation, God made music, calling it man.
And the seventh day was eternity.
Oh God, God, what is Thy will?
The corpse a husk in south-swept winter winds.
The forest pine black bitter blear.
The deaf dead face all blushes black.
Oh God, what is Thy will
I have seen you turn
Against the yellow drapes and the
Curtains blowing against your face, knowing
That time is dead, that
In this dark life there is yet to be
A little heaven, a light
On the doorsill of a darkened room.
I know your ghost, your nimbus,
I know your sweat, damp on dry, absorbent sheets. I know
Your eye turning to me, knowing me, knowing
All, knowing all all all.
I know how the sun rises in the morning, at the street
Black aglint on brackish pools after
The rain and the night.
Asleep in Ramadan I knew Sidjeen and Illiyun.
I knew God. I knew man, created to be tried.
Would you then force faith?
Hallowed words I spoke, out of a hollow in the ground.
Out of a cave I clawed, mixing
Dung with a little spittle, and the clod
Was man, was sperm and ovum and a veined furry ball.
And there was Heaven and Hell.
And the cock crew.
Sparks bright as camels there were.
Man calculated and composed and tested and tried,
Cold in the gray November winds hearing the howl
Of the coyote on the prairie and the sod
Deep about the house. Within was the ghastly
Skull, creased and furrowed and lined with cracks.
I knew God, and am like Him. I am
A piece of God.
Classify then. Classify. Call me
A name. Give me a place in your scheme.
Test my acts, try my desires, my hopes my lusts,
My goods, my evils, my abominations.
Show me a standard.
Neither your standard nor my standard. Show me
Our standard. Show me
Words are a bleak catarsis. Show me
An explosion of the bowel of the mind. Show me art
And mind, the Goodly Fere, Creation, corruption of the
Soul, the finger of God bright with a stifled cry. Show me
The hates of generations, their frenzied games played out in
Silence, buildings ruins, blocks
Bent, towers tantrum-toppled and rent
With the sackcloth. Show me the breast of a tender woman
Raped by the tread of generations, her skirt torn,
Clothes askew, hair knotted, her children dead.
Show me her lust, her temptation, her fall from grace.
Show me her body and I will show you lust
And lust and lust.
I will show you
The phallus that has begotten mankind.
I will show you creation and hate
Born together in a clot of blood.
I will show you
A Whistling and Clapping of Hands
On the very crest of a green year we hung
And walked erect, for we were men.
Our ears were full of love; not a man among us
Who could not find in his eyes the love of God.
Our women were fair, their lips lush, their voices
Melodious, their arms warm and their hands capable.
Our children were well
And obedient and delightful to us in their play.
A hard year we had of it who could not make war.
We saw in our valley a thing that contented us: a cow,
Black with white pipings, slashed with gold, a thing
We loved and esteemed, a thing that brought our hearts
Out in the softness of the afternoon. And we built
The cow we sacrificed to save ourselves from hollowness.
By this sign we knew God. The cow
We strangled as we had been taught to do,
Ignoring the screams and the smell
Of the feces expelled in the death throes.
The cow we strangled and the blood we drained.
And when I struck the rock with my staff
The blood flowed again. And it was
A river of blood that rose to tint the trees
The leaves, the very sky, and God
Looked down upon us in our valley and laughed. It was
A sad laugh, like the cough of the jackal. We were
Drained and happy
And we turned to our women.
The song I sing is an old song.
Having to do with copulation and fertility.
I am alone,
Longing to touch you.
And the laughter of God.
The song I sing is an old song.
I long to be near you.
Bearing on joy bringing grief
And the multiplication of gods in lumps of clay.
To be near you is not enough.
To be part of you I must.
And deep turned eyes that do not see
The emptiness of the universe.
Then how shall I love you?
Shall I cast off my skin
And the vast darkness of space.
My song is an ancient cry
So that you can enter me?
Shall I strip flesh from bones
Of happiness and despair, a cry
Of the immortal in the mortal that must die
And die and die and die
And strip bones from bones
That must die at last and be turned to dust
Loosing the immortal into creation
So that I am no more in the flesh
So that we two can join together and be one?
It is a cry of desperation always sung
Before the second coming.
. . . .
Up the mountain we climbed to find God.
And God laughed
And climbed up with us.
Floods and Locusts, Lice and Frogs
Through the close clutched seaweed thin light breaks.
The mussels, coral colonies and other thin
Cretaceous things that live their thin clutched lives,
God-driven rise and mount the ocean floor to shoals
And close cling bind the threefold night
Of shallow light that seeps abyssal depths
With calcined fine organic ooze.
The coward owl round eyed, God-driven to the mouse
With strings that warp the firmament.
No wrong is done, no right exists. Upon God's doorstep
Lies the blame. Rocks and trees and stones
Behavior numbered like the tides.
In the beginning was the Word. In the firmament was
The Word. In whirling night the movements of stars,
The warps of space, the planets wrenched by calamity,
Gutted by fire and explosion, catastrophes of birth,
Bearing the stuff of life, obeyed the Word. The Word
Shrieked through molecules and fluid things, bore
The Word to the utter ends of creation, gave form to water,
Screamed in the pain of birth, interruption of chaos,
Flailing of fire, shaping of horror. The Word sang
And shouted out of hollow dead things, and grew faint
With dying stars, gripped by fingers of ice, broken
In forgetfulness but not forgotten. And the Word
Thrice blew the wind from the hinterlands,
Its number twenty-six.
And the tolerant earth, like a threshold,
Opened to the Word which faded in the memory of man.
The flushing wind that whips about the house
Is brown and sear, and dreary in the deepest vales,
Wound out against the soft green sea of grass.
Alas, what lives we live within. Who dies
From birth is born again from death.
Life is not an utter thing. The games it mocks and mixes
With reality, to lose in sorrowing the real truth.
To live is certain death, and God awaits
The outcome of the truth that lies in man.
To live, to die:
What fortitude is found in man who knows the worth
Of all his acts and knows divinity in every joint, who knows
Creation in the fall of hair, who sees no greater love
In parting waters than in human birth.
. . . .
What lies are these you tell yourself, these lies that do not
Lie within the rules? And yet you know
That God is full of lies like these.
You know and are
Fire From the Green Tree
Thrice spoke the gong in the marketplace
And there blew, in a bundle of air, creation.
Crenelated fieldstone walls, rafters of fir, lakes
And trees, rich furs
And other skins of soft small beasts, a roaring
Fire in the middle hall cast light upon the goblets,
Horns, the weapons ranked against the tapestries,
And female forms half naked in the heat and blushed
With brick red wine. The banquet raged
Into the night. The dawn was mild as any other dawn.
And though we gorged our satiated appetites our eyes
Were clear, our minds were hot,
Our lusts remained unsatisfied.
For this is
The end of creation, awakening to certainties,
Unsatisfied, with dew on the grass,
On the iris a faded image of God,
And in the urinal halls of public buildings
The sour smell of a thousand faded people.
. . . .
My name is Lotus Flower
My name is Hope
My name is Happiness.
I am called Fair-of-Moon
My breasts are fair and I am loved
Though all the world dies
I am the fruit of love and the
Sacred end of lust.
My lover is a mighty warrior
Who slays and slays
Knowing man, but not
A part of man.
I grow from passion and from terror
I grow from tenderness
At the heart of all creation
He goes forth among our enemies
On a black steed breathing fire
Created from the Word
And from the grim and awesome
Terror of catastrophe.
And they are afraid and fly.
At the brink of the pit and in
The very center of Hell
I live while others die.
In my arms he is tender, and his love
Is the love of man.
I hover on wings of bright pain,
Transporting the soul.
No matter how begotten
I am good.
His is the little death and the sudden eruption,
Carrying all on and on
To a new birth, a new death
The fruit of God and the beginning
Of a new creation.
Carrying the soul
To the very skies and bringing
To new and other realities,
God into our bed.
I am God in a little seed.
I bear the burden of eternity.
The Dreadful Cry
Bombs fall in green valleys and hate
Lies sear upon the earth.The plains are watered
With the mountain's fruit. The cities
Burst and spill their plunder. Voices
Out of the ether order
Grains of sand in the bowels of the earth
And all things green and sear to listen
And obey. The spider curls
In her web, the fly escapes and falls to earth.
And monks kneel at their altars and beseech
The mercy of God.
And yet creation holds
Green things, an outward coursing seed
From some vast tourture-wracked galactic center.
And God will note and carefully record
The passing of a planet, bursting of a star,
Destruction of a galaxy, the end
Of a universe. All prayers
Are answered in eternity.
As there is God
So shall there be
The soul of man