Friday, July 25, 2008

Something Abuts

A Wall


And waking up to sunlight slanting in in creamy bars of gold, teeming
with accumulation and indecision, the released and public air circulating

in normal lazy circles the way air will, rife with what makes it visible,
the century’s dust stallions riding the currents, though the need to make

a myth of the imperial comes not naturally, is predecessor to a lie
forming all the way down under the ottoman, under the antimacassar—

what clothes form hides a discontentment, dolls up an unpalatable truth
in a preening dandyism, makes the warrior glad enough to battle “unto” death

the way fouled patriotism congeals and becomes a scab picked off regularly
just to see if one’s bloodless enough or not to continue with the faulty

identifications of lust and pride as if indolence unsutured might arouse
one’s bit-down spirit to join something bigger than itself, and die for it

Blood! it’s always blood that moves to upturn the sleepy domestic heaven
where potted plants vie with the orneriest quotidian chores, where

unruliness is found not in a philodendron’s refusal, not in the mobs of
the heart’s—it’s not the heart’s—peccant rehearsal of hatred, buoyed up

by a category named in advance and handed down preemptively, as if
the Tigris and Euphrates never flowed like golden honey down through

us, where square-hatted kings stood carved into mountains, and black-
green gardens hung gloriously feculent in the air aerated only by the sun!

and all one can reply is I will not hate the “abhominable” haters, in-
human beasts of the black riches, the lies that disallow a merger, that make

of living a concoction apart, I will not move to any command to wake,
to deliver, to deliberate, and if love itself slides off the rampant earth,

I, too, shall lift up a foreleg and a sneer, wild, bucking, improbable,
and out of slumber feign a profligacy not my own, to keep justice

provident, and quash the immoral ruse of biting open one’s own black
veins in the radiant vacancy of an empty room, with no one attending

The feint of misdirection, what tophat’d magicians and governments encourage us to fall “for”: unless one attends to a particular event, one nearly never sees it. How well I recall riding back across the southern tier of New York with a couple of semi-crooked bookmen, a Jamestown library sale—and about ten straight hours of book-picking—behind us. One of the guys (he’d nabbed a first edition Kerouac Tristessa out of the fifty cent paperbacks), flopping a local newspaper across the dash, mutter’d something about, oh, whatever got the big type—probably some ongoing “featurette” whose thralldom was likely compound’d of religiosity and sap, or a starlet’s bruises, some fur-besmirch’d yelper down in a well—and trumpet’d / lament’d: “Anything to keep our minds off the real problems!” Which was even before the “era” when one began to nurture the distinct impression that there exist’d a compliant governmental manufactory to do exactly such! Meaning, the war continues. Everything must mean today “the war continues” or it is distraction, “loose lip”-ism. Even one’s “heroic lyric on a grand scale” (Jakobson, on Mayakovsky) patches up nothing, mounts up into a sky fill’d with dirt. One likes to think of grabbing Bush by the teensy jug-ears and—with a sharp rap against the pointy-nose of some neighboring sub-presidential dick—lopping off the top of the tiny Bush skull, like an egg, just to determine if its empty or not. (Cartoonery is another distraction, though it may serve for a sketch and indelible warning to the magnitude of the fix we’re in.) So I walk it off in dawn’s mimic-complacency. See a hummingbird hanging idle above a spirea—then, it, too, shoots off in a perfectly straight line, moving like a MEDEVAC helicopter. Emergency infuses the world and its citizens sleep. At the loading dock, a fat black man in shorts hefts a wooden pallet up into the bed of a pickup, repeating in a high tenor, baseball, baseball, baseball, baseball, measuring off the summer, that voice of resign’d happiness, proviso’d by overwhelming and unspeakable defeats. U. S. confirm’d deaths in Iraq: 4,124, with more than 29,000 wound’d.

Iraq War Dead