Apocalyptic hysteria of an endangered species
that’s run out of reasons for being.
The boy cries wolf.
The profiteers are scaring the chicken littles
into tea parties
like lifeboats in Boston harbour
sent out to rescue the vote
that doesn’t float
or carry the floor
when the sky’s falling in
and it’s the sharks that win
not the people.
Here comes that Nazi spawn again.
Here comes that millenial freakshow
that rants like a neo-Puritan
God just let out of the asylum
who stands against
gays Hispanics civil rights evolution
a woman’s right to choose
Muslims the minimum wage
education social security and medicine
and anyone who denies him the freedom
to carry guns in the classroom.
Most of us have evolved
from a small fish in the Cambrian explosion
that beaded vertebrae along a spinal cord
until it could walk upright like us
but his is a stake
that smells of burning flesh in Salem.
God I hate these black bitter voices
that keep cutting the heart
out of my words
slaking the bloodthirst
of their cannibal gods
on top of their astronomical towers
in exchange for a cosmic power base.
I should be writing about
how much more beautiful the flowers are
at the end of autumn.
New England asters
and the odd delinquent rose
blooming like a tender afterthought
of what’s gone south
with the souls of the dead
in the urns of the Canada geese.
I should be at peace with the world
that’s eating me from the inside out.
I should be wise and aloof and amused.
You’d think a man my age
should have turned the page by now
like a calendar
where all the full moons
have gone mad
and time is out of the picture
and space is out of its mind
like the rerun of an old double feature
that leaves you in doubt
if you really killed off
the creature from the dark lagoon
or if it’s just waiting for a sequel.
Look how the flaming maples
burn from green
to yellow to orange to red
from the inside out
like a rainbow
like a sunset
like the phoenix in the sumac.
I should be throwing paintings and poems
like mystic blossoms
or a flight of black doves
on their funeral pyres
to sweeten their deaths
with stars on my breath
unspooling in the cold night air.
I should be out greeting
the new constellations
like a messenger that was sent ahead
like a friendly horizon
to show them the way
into the palatial heart
of an impoverished human
looking up from the bestial floor
through a Taj Mahal of pines
at the whirling castle of Arianrod
in Corona Borealis
that stands on the headlands
of the dead Celts who went there
or the stargate in Orion
that aimed the pharoahs at their afterlife
like a gunsight on a pyramid.
I should be enraptured
by the mystic negligence
of just being me
alone in the world again
among the enlightened cast-offs
who weren’t included
in making a deathmask for the fire
that doesn’t look anything like the original.
I should have immensities on my brain
that prove my irrelevance
in the greater scheme of things
as if it were
of inestimable spiritual value
to know that.
I should be summoning the ghosts
of the humming birds
to a seance of summers
like the taste of honey and wine
in the lyrics of a leafless vine
that discovered its roots
in underground music
instead of listening
to the foreign policies
of xenophobic refugees
talking about bringing
new leadership and transparency
to the windows of opportunity
that are open
to all of us equally
like a concentration camp
that cares about your point of view.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here.
Freedom’s out of work.
And someone’s got to pay
a scapegoat to the gods
on the altars of liberty
to give thanks
to Moloch and Mammon
the orthodox Christian way of all flesh:
gone on crusade
to beat infidels to death
in their own hometown
like Smith Falls come to Perth
like hooligans to hoodlums
with a big bloody red cross
that burns Jesus
the second time around
on the flammable crucifixes
of the pyromaniacs in the KKK
giving hate speeches
laced with lighters and flints
like Urban the Second
who forgave the worst filth
he could inspire in humans
from an infallible holy office
that was sure
with the help of God
their atrocities were pure.
The disease murdered its way
like a biblical plague on parade
all the way to Jerusalem
to wipe out the cure for itself
in the other fang of the snake
like an anti-dote to God
charmed by reason
in the middle of an earthquake.
Horror never seems to age.
Nor the roses of blood
haemmoraging on the snow of this page.
Nature red in tooth and claw.
Maw. Maw. Maw.
There will be no peace
until the generals hearts are satisfied
and all the gains of war
are ruined by singing and dancing.
Alloys of Zen wisdom
that doesn’t carry a sword.
And I think I can do something
to change the world
with my puny little word?
I scream murder.
No one stops.
I scream injustice
and get beat up by the cops.
I say look at that
isn’t that beautiful
and people think I was born
a hundred years too late.
I say scrape something off your dinner plate
and give it to a starving kid.
If you’ve got the cure
I say give it to everyone for free.
I say put the risk back
in what you desecrate like children.
Be a real man.
Give them something to kill you with.
I say the milk of human kindness
its own homegrown assassin
like the snake at Cleopatra’s tit.
And suicide is a big committment
I’m not prepared to make
at this juncture of my life
now I’m past the age
of dying for women
from dysfunctional families like mine.
Julaladin Rumi once wrote
if the drinking is bitter
turn yourself to wine.
But so far
all I’ve managed
is lava blood and water.
I must be
a bad Sufi.
the world is a bad place
with a lot of suffering
like an eternal flame
that just won’t go out
in the lamp of the human heart
hanging well out over the edge of the lifeboat
to see if it’s one of the survivors.
I’ve tried to give the light back
on the dark side of the mirror
like a face that was always turned away from me
like a life-preserver on the Titanic.
Turn a lotta sunshine baby
sweet fine thing?
I’ve tried to give it back in spades.
I’ve stood up to the schoolyard bullies
picking on my fat friend Larry Gamash
in the schoolyard
as if he didn’t have a right to be rescued.
I’ve jumped in.
Fourteen year old German Jews in Auschwitz.
Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza.
Pakistan and Bangaladesh.
Victor Jara killed by Pinochet
and the Chilean junta.
Benjamin Chee Chee
hanging by his shirt
in a city jail in Ottawa
they will later turn into an arts court.
And this new holy war of one
between the haves and the have nots
trying to divide the baby like Solomon
I keep fighting within myself
knowing I’m never going to win.
The religious have as much right to sin
as a secular humanist has to commit a crime.
But we need a new word for both.
We need to give a new name to Evil.
We need to find a meme a gene a symbol
an image an icon
a new simulacrum
their extraordinary rate of growth.
We need to put a new nightshift on the truth
and work out a new logo
that forgets all about the beginning
and the word
from a little black farce
into a cosmic absurdity
like an oil well in an hourglass at the end
of its haemmoragic output.
Turn prophecies into polls.
Turn your airmiles into lightyears
that can leave the planet.
Turn your past lives
into future shares
in a volatile market in Bagdhad.
Don’t be an anal volcano
disgorging the earth
like something that didn’t agree
with what the corporation ate yesterday.
Peace is pink.
Peace is Pepto-Bismal.
And there’s alway more
than meets the eye
in the two ply toilet-paper
the world wipes its ass with
like the Jensen high gloss
on a sixteen month wildlife calendar
where the wolf and the fox
and the lynx in the snow
don’t have a clue what year it is
but know that timing’s
the whole of the content
and there may be reasons you can’t ignore
but extinction isn’t the kind of thing
you can come prepared for.