Hard buds form on my back
painful to touch and rain falls on the window
bringing forth a new body.
yellow stains the bed-sheet
sleep face down
just a thunderstorm
and in my head see cartoons of Paradise
elephants of the Apocalypse.
And feel like I’m in second puberty.
at the passing of the present troubled system
and there will be no end of dishes
I will drink a cup of coffee
listen to the news
at the last trumpet
as my certain metamorphosis runs its course.
Absence of background
and foreground absent
At the passing of the phantastikon
at the popping of the pleasant swirling bubble
in the anteroom an old man sings a lullaby
or a young man hums,
there will be visions
in the total field
and light diffused as through gauze
showing you snap-shots from the photo-album
drawing the curtains in your cubicle
slapping you, kissing you
holding your hand
crying beside the bed
yet to me
dust in my hand
sunk in oblivion. Forgive.
Tanks converge on city, every Allied force
clouds gather, and dark sky
over Beirut, Rome, Constantinople, Nagasaki
cracks in cloudbank, a great wind and tax
over Washington DC
rain pours from fissures, clap of thunder
a storm blows from Paradise
where Angel of Death strides
and there, under his cloak
the wind catches my wings;
Dry toast cools on its rack
water splatters in a drain and tasteless tea
slips down my throat
watching rain fall
Vietnam vets take school,
for grievances, ransom of soda-fizz
Bush only hot tip
the only candidate left
Douglas gets the bum’s rush
and Republicans pull down their false idol,
pull him down
phone rings and rings.
I can’t answer for laughter. She comes in, turns radio off
says, How are you?
from dust and blueprints indestructible
being made over
dressing in the new personality
she wraps my wings in ripped cloth, in white cotton.
Absence of faces
they leave you now, lips pressed on your cheek once
as in dream-sequence or underwater;
and voices absent
they whisper, steps recede down corridor.
I feel so happy.
noises grow faint
they get in and drive away.
Hey, I’m cold.
and the air tastes like ice-cream
in the waiting-room.
fold wings for warmth around body
there will be a long wait;
Before the mountain
wreckage heaped on wreckage
shall not avert your eyes
anguish of nations, anguish of kingdoms, finding no way out,
as nothing to God.
hurled at your feet
eyes stare, mouth wide, wings spread, as the mountain rises
and the living smashed to pieces under this rubbish heap
the dead scream
out of the historical process
and a storm blows
caught in your wings off its slopes, irresistibly
pile of debris grows skyward
bringing to ruin those ruining the earth
and the wind
we call progress
blowing you into the future
to which back is turned.
Cars his on wet street
outside my house, I fetch the mail
being made perfect
suffering his glory and perceiving dimly marvelous things
water out of a drain
dragging a tin can along the gutter
and there will be a wonderful future!
drips run down the sash-window
clearing remains of the last meal
she asks me
as a ventriloquist speaks through dummy
to answer some questions.
river flows high
carrying trash out to sea.
and how many million
contemplating the mountain.
Tankers on Suez
Khomeini flails in blood and Shamir blind in Gaza,
as Thatcher descends in Brixton
bringing stirrup to Christendom
black men in Spain
and Cape Town
Arms from China
Arms to Contras.
women humped up
before the bulldozer.
You shall not turn away.
Things will be set straight, at last, set straight
Ten thousand million
more and more
anguish on anguish.
She blows cigarette smoke in my eyes
gazing suspiciously at sex
she is glass or water
making squiggles in sunlight
swimming-pool and moment of passion
time unfinished in the anteroom
and sex shrinks into the skin
as light in the mind’s eye
and her love
half-moon over sea’s motion.
Storm rises out of Paradise
seven peals of thunder
seven bolts of lightning
rain lashes of skin of those under moon
four seraphim shake the four corners and hail burns as fire
and blood flows from the smoking heap
all things on the earth messed up and dust on the wind
that hurtles you into the future without end.
With her hand she breaks the surface
dives into lake
and stands waist-deep in red cloud
susurrus of leaves
in warm summer air
light breeze through sycamore
smooth limbs and the lake still
raises her arms and beckons to us
swans glide dipping their necks in the clarity
sun sinks russet-gold
she slips out of her things and dives in
clear light bathes her
sunset, Saturday evening.
And the yellow crescent-moon rises.