Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Extempore Exercise in Five Movements on the Death of the Master


Soon it’ll be a capital crime to aim a spot-light
At the mean face of the future, the past gone
Nowhere. Like poor fishermen, we prawn
The warm engulf of vanities, parasites
Of sea, sun, air; even among the erudite
The hook gets baited (rubber longjohns
To protect against chilly tidewater dawns).
The whole business gives me a wound-tight
Fright. Hail Masters, full of grace! Amen!
The majority never know what hit them,
Don’t know his name, his poems; like lambs
Led to the table, they're eager to send
Others to war for the taste of local hams,
And others for security terminally penned


And others blinded by their own wise light
Stare off as if being was all about being gone:
Gas, flesh, bone; the survival sense a prawn
Has scuttling the currents; fighting parasites
And ship-sized fish makes for an erudite
Denizen of the human reef. Dicks, Johns,
Toms and Harrys: O bombarded dawns,
The sound of fury and glories tight
To the line—what works gets the Amen!
I’m afraid it may all be a crock o’ bull: them,
Us, the others, as if the fuss for smoked ham
Were incidental to the sow. Wolves eat lambs
On wide open plains under stars that send
The kind of poems no mortal’s ever penned.


Every image appears in its own word-light.
For seventy years you wrote about being gone
From hatred, suffering, the hunger. A mere prawn
In comparison, I’m a sinecure’s parasite,
Slack-jawed with self-love, as erudite
As a goldfish flushed down the john.
You made gospel out of all the meaty dawns
In a top/bottom squeeze, bound up tight
You traveled among us, and them, with them
For us, writing about women prepping hams
In camp kitchens, farmers skinning lambs
From branches in village squares, the amen
Of a grandmother with the eyes of a penned
Animal, witness to what God saw fit to send.


In prose and poetry you lit the flood-lights
Above our path, paving the way—now gone,
We walk in darkness. The toxic prawns
On the menu are the true poems of our parasite
Natures, what lies out of range—erudite
And empty, feasting like bulging Johns
Cashing in orgasms for amnesiac dawns
While night-shift girls work a pimp-tight
Schedule. To whom shall we send an Amen?
Perhaps now you are a God, or just like them:
Brodsky, your soulmate; Ginsberg, the ham
Who left us love songs naked as lambs
Sheared for cloakrooms. Could you please send
Angel reinforcements? I fear being penned!


Today at dawn I stirred to kill the light.
On the radio, news that you were gone.
(I have a new poem about a soulless prawn,
A week old pincer-clinging parasite
On the Frigidaire air, as if erudite
Flesh could leapfrog into holiness—John,
3:13, pinky-ringed in a lavender dawn.
I should have known to seal it up tight
With prayer, with a bomb's heartfelt amen.)
And now you’re dead, bright shade among them,
Angel of song, keeper of the lambs;
Out of heaven’s clay you were made and sent
To harden in the fires of what you penned,
So we sheep might avoid the void of an end.

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