Edenless / Endless

A lioncub played with hyenas
And complained
When they laughed
At his pride;
And a cuttlefish caught in nets
When striving to retreat
In longcoat-lines
Is poor man’s salmon disguise;
And a sparrowhawk’s
Airborne shortening,
Quickening breath
In the heat of the heart
Of a wasp nest demise;
These creatures died
With a startled sharpness
Keener than their births
And the girdle
Of this whole earth
In their eyes,
All are victims more to mankind
And man’s disease of language,
And man’s demeaning mind,
To subjugate, and classify;
Nature is nature’s intent alone,
There’s no greater or lesser divide
Than between you and I,
So I won’t be so shocked
When I rest my sore head
On an Edenless bed,
Aspic words preserve the lie.

Hair’s Breadth

The evil that people did,
And evil that people still do
Is reason enough why I’ll be returning
In a soul-equipped igloo.

On the backs of whales I’ll hunt
For injustices in the thaw,
My harpoon deeply impaling
The abandonment of law.

I’ll sail across death’s forests,
Hear humpback’s distressed call,
By their skyward fire at night alone,
Warming my hands as I fall.

The moment is my throne allayed
Beyond that icy floe,
Eternity, hair’s breadth away,
Watch me as I go.

Undo The Undone

To the workers ploughing out there,
To people in the chair,
To families burnt in enclave rings
Now living without prayers,

If I could lease my grieving lung
I’d undo despots draining done;
Absorb that cancerous, bloodied lot,
For fairness growing through the rot.

There’s no mausoleum or statue,
No temples in gold or bamboo
Which can’t be uprooted or toppled anew;
We’d be unstoppable, in a week or two.

I heard my soul cry from its cell,
A muffled sound, bottomless well,
Mishearing its touch as a distant bell,
I reached from my seat, and unseated fell.

Veracruz

Ah verdant Veracruz,
Inquisitors landed
With seminal footsteps
On your sandy shores,
Anchored in foam bluer
Than undry eyes of lonely
Brides who cried like ghosts
Each night, for they
Knew the truth by then,
The truth unbound about
Those men both intrepid
And yet also afflicted with
Scurvy, to whom they once
Curtsied in courts, in
Galicia, and Castile.
Praising their gods with
Spongy gums, rashes infernal,
Thousands of miles from home,
Finding exotic diseases and
New fruits for their horses,
This coast too was a ghost
Of a nation destined to kill
Itself. They swore they saw
In those first loamy forests
Evidence of snakes
Eating their own tails,
And carvings of aroused
Totemic beasts whose tidings
Could block out the most
Ardent and stifling sun,
If rubbed with a little belief.

Those forests turned with Time
Into fields, the terraces and
Mesas of modern Mexico,
Where memories are as long
As the potential in doors unopened
And mines are as rich and fertile
As the self-sanctified appendage
Belonging once to none other than
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna,
Who, having traversed from here
To Baja California, was injured
By grapeshot fired from
Obusier de vaisseau on board
French blockaders, during
The Pastry War; they stretch
From unsung Sonora and Sinaloa
Which later sadly became layered
And synonymous with bloodshed,
To the caudillo’s hacienda above
Seagull nests and roadsteads,
And the hotel where we made
Ablutions, and took our rest.

That night I dreamt of seven miles
Of Atlixo, somewhere south of
Popacatépetl and the myth
Of the sleeping woman,
La Mujer Dormida,
A strip of land turned by arts
Within humanity’s hand into
A colossal supine statue
Much like Cristo Redentor
Only flat, yes, and not sculpted
From concrete with soapstone
But fashioned from the soil,
The land, into the shape of his
Image. I viewed this from the air
And marvelled at the ineffable
Grace and scale of his creation;
I wondered if something spiritual
And filled with meaning had been
Hidden under this humble yet
Hot-headed, passionate and yet
Disconsolate continent’s seams.
It reminded me of another dream
More than twenty years old, when
Two giant statues of a bodhisattva
Glided down a river, both imposing
Yet serene, navigating rapids as if
There was nothing inbetween
The reality, and the artifice
Of a mastered stream.

Kindling these memories, I forgot
That I was in a dream within a dream.
May the Mexicayotl transcend,
May the Malinchista be forgiven,
For there will be time in the end
When we too can see between rivers.

Milwaukee

She said these words:
I can babysit, shoot a gun, and cook at the same damn time.
There are plenty of one-eyed
Rain-sodden teddy bears
On hell’s roadsides.

All the trees are used for shrines,
The trees will blow through the breeze.
There are fathers without handles
We will never find, and I believe that
One day, when they are all absent,
We will run out of candles.

Welcome To Washington Heights

The pimp is my manager,
He says he is my Fantasy;
He says I like it when he hits me,
This is not make believe.

When I was six or seven,
I dreamt of fairy castles,
Now I bleed three times a week
And take my alcohol.

I find comfort in his violence,
That’s what he said I thought;
Trouble doesn’t have a pitch,
I don’t associate with people

Any more, but him.
I must be happy for clients,
I am a Texan cargo train,
I am the Houston skyline.

He gives me warnings
Not to go on the run,
Sometimes punches me too much.
A room incarcerates

With sheets of shallow pink
And I think there they all go
On the freeway with
Their health insurances

And bungalows with lawns
Neatly mown; in time their cars
Turn on these headlamps,
Light up the furthest wall.

Ode To Compassion

If governments spent
As much taxpayer funding
On Compassion
As governments do spend
On posturing
And prevention,
Assassins and
Suppression,
Navel gazing
Ministries of War,
Prostitution of Race,
Antagonisms,
Beaurocracy
And laundry bills,
Then would we restore
Purity of purpose,
Currently a famine,
A hundred year long drought,
From the current pretenders
Through the Tudors
And Dark Ages,
All the way down until
Timon of Athens.

If only the ancient
Predecessors
Had invested in
Forums for Compassion,
Perhaps our sufferance
Would subsequently lessen,
Instead of obedience to
These Departments for Death
And Injustice.