i greet the
end of the world
like an old friend
we’ve been waiting for you
what took you
so very long
what is this chaos but to say
another thing i don’t like
whose name you’ll not learn
whose contours remain a calculated gloss
gibbering priests speak nought speak nada
follow them into outer darkness
where everything is as it always & never was
where to breathe is to expire
a cocoon where you can safely abstain
safely not safely never
The aftertaste of our sacraments
Take the gears between your teeth
With parsimoniously thimbled crude
You will pass through the flame, reborn
Or be cast into outer darkness
To decay unseen
In black plastic
Can you smell it
The stench of it
The decaying apparatus
Its gangrenous appendages
You’d think we’d adjust
Swallowed up as we are
In its belly digesting, revolting
We/Jonah attempt cure upon cure
When the medicine it requires is death
Let maggots & beetles do their business
Let us breathe untainted freedom
From—yes!—but also to
It seeks to gentle
What noble impulse remains
And chain to the rubric
Your loyalties must
Be led to corral
Bit by bit
None but me
Murmurs your several
You must die in the coke fire says one
You must die on a cross says another
All agreed: you must die
So: Will you die so that others might die
Or die so that others might live
That is the question
It’s something between it and its echo
The graven palm folded/refolded
Until it spells parallel pasts & futures
It’s important to draw from that well
To drink deeply & diagnose how
Foreign & familiar it tastes
It’s words on a page somewhere
Tucked behind passwords & recipes
To read is to alter them
It’s a sacrifice worth laying down
Glistening wetly & still molten
See how its facets fascinate
It’s begging to be reframed
Stretched over new scaffolds
Nipped & tucked
It’s an infrequent engine
When started it produces
Oh how it produces
It is not meant to be spoken.
It is not meant to be a river flowing over & through.
It is meant to be broken down.
To be be teased apart.
It is the meditative act
Take the wafer upon your tongue
And feel it dissolve.
Receive the wine
And its petite flamme.
Now you know
That you don’t know
And that is the power
again, again, mumble the magic words
perhaps this time
either the pony
or the inscrutable topography
no-one can parse
instead freewheeling madmen
which to hang
Did you make it to the other side?
I doubt it; entanglements abound
And direct you this way, not that.
The people and things who orbit
You have a peculiar kind of gravity.
They hold you captive to a system.
Of course it’s possible! Many things
Are possible. Yet many more are
Untenable, even unthinkable.
Remember the places where it chafes.
Work your fingers into the long-
Crumbling masonry and discover
A single unfettered brick. Can you?
So much depends on whether you
Can devise a you-shaped hole
And escape. It may never collapse,
Or it may have collapsed yesterday.
There’s no way to know from inside.
As for your first thought in all this:
Take them with you. How else were
These trillion galaxies formed?
Our father’s fathers left their cities
And built new ones. How then can
We not seek to do the same?
step gingerly we through streams
of paintings & become
in that plurality flowing yellow light
frames just so composed faces
each reconciled & atilt
not a memory not quite a memory
more a wish: frothing hooves flashing teeth
violence of perception tame tamped down
together finally laughing setting
down our brushes