Hate and the Angel [c. 1985]

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

shattering tarseal

over Berlin
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

cardoor slams

they get in and drive away.

Hey, I’m cold.

and the air tastes like ice-cream
in the waiting-room.

Who’s that?

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 hiss on wet street
outside my house, I fetch the mail

being made perfect

drizzle falls

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!

Telephone rings

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.

Ten thousand

and how many million

contemplating the mountain.

Tankers on Suez

Jerusalem’s fallen

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


wings outstretched

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

she laughs

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

white breasts


hair russet-gold

susurrus of leaves

in warm summer air

light breeze through sycamore

smooth limbs and the lake still

raises her arms and beckons to us

calls out;

Deserted lake

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.