DECAY INTO MADNESS
Decay into madness like the Kaisers and Rasputins
just before World War 1 when life hemorrhaged
like heavy red velvet curtains and we all bled to death
in a sterling defence of the roses, putting thorns on our helmets
and death in our beds as if war were a mistress
you could make uninhibited love to when beauty bored you.
Life ripped under its own weight, too many refugees
caught up in the spiderwebs that couldn’t sustain the pretence
they were dreamcatchers and safety nets, trampolines
and suspension bridges for the rolling barrage
of rhetorical clowns that fired their mouths off like cannon
into an abyss without a prophylactic suicide net on the Peace Tower
you could haul into the lifeboat like a fisher of men.
Violations too deep for scar tissue in the trenches.
I reread T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land recently
and it smelled of chlorine and mustard gas, the sickly pallor
of waterlilies rotting in a methane swamp of starmud.
Five petals opened like the plinths of Rigel in Orion
and one flower bloomed like a jester’s cap.
Now everybody feels like the butt of the joke
at the expense of their own enlightenment.
Bilious as a dying fall without a gas mask on,
death goes to a ghoulish ball in unmasked Venice.
Enfeebled, dissolute, nauseous, the soul,
and the flesh made out of silly putty
as Michelangelo studies plastic surgery
and everybody knows what an extortion racket it is
to live like a debt to society elected loansharks
are coming to collect or repeal your place at the trough,
repossess your face, say repeat after me
enough is never enough. Gluttony fattens on need.
Ask any corporate cannibal hunger isn’t just the desire
to eat. It’s the power to eat the eyes right out
of the spirit of a human in front of the mirror
it answers to like the prey of maggots and tapeworms.
The truth gets simpler as the lies grow more complex.
People so numb they’re living by reflex and when
the lobbyists and pimps of advertising say jump
the politicians twitch like Giovanni’s frog. Not Basho’s.
And the parrot pundit quasi profiteering
celebrity intellectuals who extemporize
like Hamlet in the paralytic shadows of tragic issues
and blame-game atrocities that once were
unaccounted for like yesterday’s children
until newsworthy expedience found a new way
of burying their embarrassing corpses in greater contexts
that could no longer be of concern to their dolls
and teddy bears now they’re all dead. What are
you going to do now, smart guy, sew the buttons
back on their eyes? See if you can open their eyelids
by tilting the world on its axis like a lance
about to take another stab at slaying a windmill?
Surrealistic black farce of evil clowns in a morality play
where no one who deserves it ever gets their own.
The mindstream runs down like a waterclock
into gutters and sewers, the Via Cloacum of the overfed
who will be slaughtered like pigs on their own altars
tomorrow, given the way things are always taking
a turn toward their reverse like the polymorphous perverse
with an ingenuous genius for acute irony when your head’s
piked like the spearhead of a project on the suburban gateway
of your artificial paradise and your astro-turf golfclub
and you look for all the world like an olive on a toothpick
stuffed with scarlet pimento someone set aside
like a mere formality of history defacing the image
you had of yourself as if you’d been patched
by an outlaw biker club who had your back, but not
the unprophetic skull of your spectacularly shrunken head.
That said, if you don’t use it as an excuse to wait with the dead,
things are going to get better as long as the river runs
like a mindstream clarifying itself like a window in tears
when it rains as if your eyes were being whipped
but you’re inside, safe somewhere like an act
that just came off the road, and it feels as if
you were being scourged by a single blade
of first magnitude stargrass punking the fireworks
of the blank look in the fathomless eyes of a merciful starmap
that condemns the house of life like a zodiac for demolition
and then says, ok space cadets, show me the blueprints
of the constellations where you’d like to live now.
And don’t be dismayed into suicide by the blackest night
of your imagination. That’s your own aniconic
creative freedom staring you back in the face
searching the watershed in your eyes out like an abyss
for any sign of a new creation myth to let it know
as dark out as it is now, yes, your tear ducts are blocked
by tiger mussels in the Great Lakes, but I can see
your light from here. O, definitely, it’s you,
and you’re still shining like a new universe
out of the void into the dark abundance, bright vacancy
of the available dimensions of an incommensurable
future memory of every breath you take to creatively exhilarate
the flames of your starmud flowering in a mindscape
you have yet to name like an Ojibway elder the spirit of a child.