Live what you believe fanatically
in blind obedience to a theory
and you’ll end up
as deranged as the facts.
The stars will still shine for you
but only in braille.
Live according to an ideology
that possesses your life
like an incubus in every detail
and you’ll wind up
blooding your abstractions
like a flesh-eating disease
reserved for the death of your children.
Everyone knows that white light
is all seven colours of the rainbow
but your eyes are weak
and your mind can’t stand the light
and you paint your window
like a voyeur on the inside
with whatever you want to see
and then standing before the mike
like an empty picture-frame
trying to throw some light on the matter
you say Look. What a view!
When blue isn’t around to ruin the neighbourhood
and the ghettos of the constellations
come out at night like Poland or Belgium
wearing yellow stars on their sleeves.
You open your mouth to speak
and racist pigs gather around the trough
like movie-stars pundits and prophets.
Cannibalistic paragons of obesity
with shrunken heads
who eat their own
and then pick people out of their teeth
as if they were the baleen
of blue whales sifting krill.
The devil has overcome life
and arisen from the womb victorious
to reform the body of the law
or Texas politicians
fucking with our myths of origin
molesting the minds of our children
by convicting the Big Bang
of original sin
because it didn’t hold up
its limp trigger-finger to God
like the second amendment of Adam
to the National Rifle Association
who sent Moses down from his mountain
like Charlton Heston to Columbine High School
to upend his own commandment
by asserting the democratic right of everyone to kill
children in the classroom
with automatic weapons.
Herod denies citizenship
to the firstborn of Israel again
to the firstborn of Latin America
to the firstborn of Palestine
to the firstborn of humans everywhere
to keep from being dispossessed
by his own nightmare
and again he will die
like the mother of maggots
giving birth to generations of the unclean
that shall bear his name down through history
with the papers to prove
when he gave up his birthright
to human decency
he was naturalized by the obscene.
These fat sleaze-bag used-car salesmen politicos
fat sleaze-bag realtors
fat sleaze-bag lawyers
ferociously ugly women
porky men with surrealistic hair-dos
trying to talk like accordions
with punched-in catcher’s mitts for faces
and the social graces
of vinegar bleach and lemons
and bodies that make evolution
want to revoke their green cards
fat sleaze-bag bankers
fat sleaze-bag politicians
fat sleaze-bag brokers in the Wall Street snakepit
trying to pull lucky rabbits
out of their crooked tophats
like chimneys corrupted for years
by economic creosote
fat sleaze-bag c.e.o. s of slick snakeoil corporations
fouling the earth
fouling the seas
with the black blood
of haemoraging eclipses
tent caterpillars in bankrupt trees
hooded like the KKK
trying to pass themselves off as silk worms
fat sleaze-bag lobbyists
fat redneck mind-bunting hooligans
trying to have a same-sex relationship
with their guns
all dungheaps covered in snow
to quote John Webster
knots in the heartwood of humanity
worms in the rafters
the spiritual cornerstones
of our common humanity
running for public office
reeking like outhouses
with plans for the Taj Mahal.
Hydrophobic mind-runts with rabies
frothing and snapping at people
who want to get on with their lives
like water in a desert that seldom blooms.
Closet Nazis with unmappable genomes
that run on for miles
like large intestines
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said that.
And I say true individuals are born
of coming together
not standing aloofly apart
like the gates of a garden
they’ll never enter
like a thief
through their own back doors.
Arbeit macht frei.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here.
And it’s savagely clear
the planet is smothered in us
like an upgraded explosion of microbes
Slavicly protected by our own gigantism
as everything’s getting smaller and darker
through the wrong end
of our expanding telescopes.
But that’s precisely why
one mile east being one mile west
when you look at someone else’s child
new come to the world as a unique being
as a mystically specific mode of being
you look for the similarities
not the differences
knowing the distance
between the seer and the seen
is the distance between blue and green
an island with a brown bridge
between the opposing shores
of black and red
the distance between your two eyes
when they’re absolved in the one seeing
like tears that don’t come between
the living and the dead
or the painter and his palette
greying his blues with orange
because every individual
is the sum of the same watershed
that conceived all of us
like rivers and lakes and rain and clouds and seas
just a moment ago.
So who are these nabobs of gravity
these blackholes in the galaxy
these illiterate fridge magnets
these dark farces of black matter
trying to say who gets to adhere
and who doesn’t
what stars will remain homeless
in cramped detention centers
for being from the wrong constellation
on a braille starmap
and which will be given
cheap housing in the back alleys of the zodiac?
It’s rare to find anyone
since human history first began
who wasn’t born on stolen land
so I ask you big continents
on behalf of all of us grains of sand
everyone of which
contains a universe
as infinite as the insight
that lit Blake up like a firefly in the night
where does one thief get off
refusing the birthright of another
like the baby Solomon held up to the sword
to divide the mothers
like blood and land
like water and wave
like love of life on earth
from those who try to own their birth
like a great occasion of little worth
inflated by a volatile slave market
into the false divinity
of a fraudulent housing derivative;
I ask you corpulent captains of industry
arming the lion
arming the lamb
how are you going to keep
us worms of the earth
from tunneling into your afterlife
when the leaves on the tree of man
turn colour in the fall
and cover your ass in passports
like so much mulch
wasted on your rootless coffin
that isn’t going anywhere?
Even when the sun comes up
like a fat Arizona sheriff
with a fucked up star on its chest
that used to be Venus
before it morphed into Lucifer
but now looks like a swastika
broken and battered by the rain
growing in the wrong direction
like something laid on a grave
when the sun comes up
like a fat Arizona sheriff
and looks over the flowers
trembling in its light
as if it were a lightbulb
in an interrogation room
where they question the dandelions
like illegal immigrants
who crossed the border
on the coyote of the wind
and the inter-racial poppies
are indicted for their gypsy blood-lines
and deported home
to the corner of the yard like weeds.
When the sun rises like an Arizona sheriff
and looks over the flowers of the earth
and says Papers please!
and nothing blooms
everything is afraid to bloom
because everyone here
is here from somewhere else
like cherry trees from Palestine
the crusaders rooted in Europe
or crainial coconuts that bobbed
like Orphic skulls across the Pacific
until their prophecies grew like palms
on isolated desert islands.
and the flowers hug the shadows.
and there are no wildflowers in the meadows.
and the rose tries to disguise its accent
so that no one knows it’s from Persia
hence its name.
and the waterlily moves away from the window.
and even the cactus
only shows you its thorns.
and the bull of the moon
that hangs low over the desert like a skull
sees that all-American cape of red blood
you wave aurorally like a flag at half mast
or an eclipse of things to come
and that solar sword of white light
you drive deep into the heart of things
like a matador that hates
the darkness within him
and takes it out on the night;
sees how you abuse the laws
to thaw like milky ice-cream
all over your apple piety
as if you’d just taken a bite out of the serpent
when the apple tempted you
to drive the mothers and children
like orchards out of Eden
for showing you the wrong blossoms
when you demanded
they show you their papers.
Where were you born?
Where did you first see the light?
Do you walk like us?
Do you look like us?
Do you talk like us?
Do you think like us?
Do you bury your dead like us?
Do you feel things like a cellphone?
Do you see things the way we do when they’re televised?
Do you believe in the same God we do
now that he’s been disguised
in the image of us
and granted a revised birth certificate?
but it’s the humans that are torn up.
and a young Mexican mother mourns
a young Palestinian mother mourns
a young Sudanese mother mourns
their babies were born
with the wrong-coloured face
in a place of thorns
in shacks built
of leftover crosses and crescents
in Arizona Darfur and Gaza
where fascist phrenologists check
the bloodlines of the rose
by measuring the distance
between the eyes and the nose
they cut off to spite their face
they cut out like the heart of a race
that is forced to live
like illegal aliens among cannibals
that delight in eating their own
like the Titans
before they were overthrown
by the Olympians.
and on the whole wide inhospitable earth
and it’s easier to find a place to die in
than it is to find a bit of dirt on which to live
or will you now start digging up corpses
like a dog
and repatriating the bones
of those who were buried here illegally
among these others just as far from home
holding up their passports
like gravestones to the law
to prove death issued them
the right credentials
to be left in peace alone.
and the white bull of the moon
that was wounded into abundance
by a blood sacrifice
that was more than enough to go around
more than enough to seat and feed everyone
above the salt at the feast
seals its wounds like borders
and lowers its horns
the way Moby Dick
squared with the Pequod in a rage
when his head was in another medium
and tramples the sour grapes
of the bad blood
that soils the wine
like the defilers of people
down on their knees
at the peepholes of God
compiling a racial profile
on the pick-up sticks
of their own mixed beginnings
in the Book of Changes
because they thought they heard an accent
when she said Fiat lux. Let there be light.
And she wore a veil in public
like Isis Queen of Heaven
like the black madonnas of the Aquitaine
whose tears fell
into the holy blood grails of compassion like rain
that falls on everyone alike
to heal the ailing kingdom
rooted in the hearts of humans
without asking where anyone was from
to cover her face
to cover the pain
to cover her disdain
to cover the disgrace
as if to say
she wasn’t from this place
she wasn’t from France
or Phoenix Arizona
and she was going to keep it that way.