the west wall begins opposite the open prophecy, ‘behold a virgin,’ our lady, handmaid, who, kneeling with divine ritual spoken, figure in full length, is seated, right-hand held in benediction in an eastern manner for deliverance while from behind seven swords thrust into her breast, her body firmament. about her neck she wears marvelous salutations, ‘come my chosen one into the kingdom. the movement begun.’
attending the entrance, the messiah, a lad, enters. harps weave in, out, about break into his song of departure. all earthly things dominate, capture the conflict. cocks of immortality rise to caw sanctus continuously. fulfilling the promise of his race, redemption an unrelated theme, graves by the sound of trumpets suggests multitudes of lost souls, the wrath of the lord redoubled against his people. that they repress falling upon children surprises.
in the niche on the east wall are various conventional symbols from the west. beneath the feet of Adam false gods bow despairingly, their central figure typifying humanity. nonetheless, their daughters, idols ensnared, sensuously veiled in blue, screen their faces in the wings of seraphim. in counterpoint at the wall’s furthest edge the Christian concepts of judgment. the heads of burnt offerings, the eucharistic chalice filled with sacred blood,
the lamb, the child, the lion, the yoke. above, the staircase leads up. upon the vault of the ceiling between the long walls strange gods whom the children adore. to the left the visitation to draw forth. on either side they are bound closely. their most despised enemies rule over them. on the cross is a dead Christlike figure. the symbol of the cross fulfills a like function; the passion: the spear, the nails, the reed.
three groups of singing angels flank the crucifix while behind each godhead the dragons, the sun-myths, above whose heads the sun with rays reaching the oneness which ends, stand. upon their shoulders his name shall be received into the arms uplifted to strike with scourges & sword. purified of soul with turbulent, terrible fear, the religion of the virgin, the condemned made perfect by demons while those of soul are thrust down, heathen, discordant. in contrast, a beautiful,
soulless figure sheds innocent blood, even blood of one’s son. stretched forth to stay female oppressors & prostate victims prophets ignorant of the division adore the new born infant since all are one flesh, while in the remaining quarters, the heads of the trinity are crowned each of the three raising three fingers. the law balanced between eternal & agony weighs mere mortals emerging from the opening
borne on a tempestuous crescent moon. on the south wall is set forth the dogma. the spaces outside the panels are numerous. surrounded by enticing assumptions of virgins are etched the words below the arch, ‘I am the maker of heaven & redeemer of all that I love.’ dust, dancing silhouettes in western light dying. they come in already dead counting blessings that hint at beauty & concord, gated gardens, colossal ivory towers.
Death, at best, rest. Hunters drawing The nail. Pride of the morning, Each night’s death’s watch Tapping, walled. Wounds. Relics. The nail beastly drunk, Mangy dogs crouch while bells peel.
Hunch back lanes blackened, rabid. Peel Bells dawning flitted away drawing With sleight of hand the morning, Metal struck dumb. We watch Love like archers blind, relics Without rhyme, drunk
Less glazed. Exquisite wine drunk From lead crystal refracting peels Unrecognized. Shadows drawing Grave faced people on anxious moorings: Forfeiting seconds of dying to spy A distant, lying history of relics:
Unpublished stories, unspoken texts. Relics Along brackish standing water. Drunk By mouthfuls, stolen as laughter peels Riotous, gathering violence, drawing Breathe as peonies bloom, mourning As fragile as we watch
Extravagant young corpses. We watch Atop large howling stones, relics Of passing interest, drunk Where madness as an inner peace peels. Dawn’s creation hunkered down drawing Infectious wounds. Morning
Rising from fire born mourning A clashing of swords. We watch Wind ground mountains become relic Where no coherent thought drunk Leads incoherently to others peeling Away skin. Drawing
The nail. Drawing a poison drunk While on watch, while bells peel Morning once relic and at rest.
We sleep, lament, content, in the city of public squares, Where I saw my spirit trapped, snared by torsos Who whisper of youth as recourse. Of course I tried to tell them, occasionally stepping Down from this barren rock where no poems Grow. The sounds in my ears Were clouds low overhead. Emptiness- this is the courage, A feeling like being choked, To be locked in this, this scene Above which I hold no other. Speak of it and about that Which they have no knowledge By the fire, while the train keeps bearing down On us weighing down what might Be left to sing in our nightmares. You knew, and I know, but without caring, We will walk all night, Treading water in the red light, In what is falling through us. And now, each night, in sleep The bliss lays heavy- fades, And thought never comes, the dancing Lights of gray and white. That’s why you taught me tears. After weeks of strain and sickness I didn’t find what I looked for, Not knowing what it was, yet Knowing I will lose it if I learn What I know. But for now, Here, in this city of delicate surfaces Aware, this once, as I will always be, Among the dead packed immaculately Away, there’s no despair that could quiet You. Through innumerable choruses Soaring higher than we could ever climb, The thought of pleasure pleasing Flesh and bone opens with a yawn, And the world goes on The way I always felt it would. Again, waking at dawn, The sweep of it, taking courage From silence, your silence Letting drop my bright eyes, accusing. Little did I imagine then These images remain with us every day. Dawn breaks. It is only the sun But we carry the weight of middle-aged trees Diseased along the streets and boulevards. Here sadness takes on abstract shapes Light scrabbles at the open door. I breathe. I am not asleep. The light screams into tightly held secrets Of those dark spirits who lie still, still dreaming.
I was working with…? Anyway, although I’d been in the conspicuous absence of time constraints known only to the idle rich or chronically underemployed, this was meant to be a quick strike. I only had a couple of hours… Unfortunately, neither of them was suitable. One was (how can I put this judiciously), an audacious threading running vertically, the other, vintage contemporary... It hung in my back garden for many occasions. Along with my purple silk Indian elephant bow tie it complimented…
This ground as grains of harvest Unsown, porcelain as loose stone, rose Pressed willow gold; across bloodied shoulders A pale flag unfurls for in your world Helen lies dead. A life of faith one burial In Ilion's ruins recounts in faded murals.
History: a thousand ships sailing for home Buoying shards & fragments tossed By storms patient to surface; the price Of this union little more than wares Of kiln & glaze haphazardly thrown In some harbor as yet uncomposed.