“Mothers’ lonely hearts cradling chipped coffee mugs…”

Marches, homosexuals, phantoms & crucifixes,
brides & bridegrooms, perfumes, angels –
in my warring heart, in black & white photographs.Part 1Yesterday through the rain shone bleak libraries full of tears;
thunderous manuscripts of terror & tenderness,
cast down by the uniform flood, by men clad in black,
mutating naked heroes into media superstars
for media superstardom,
cast down wholly with the rusted carousel,
cast down for the demi-gods, the idols,
for celestial cocktail waitresses
and star-spangled glittery cock-suckers,
for lizard-skin skirts dancing around democracy,
sweat and scars;
a thousand orgies erupting shamed and misdirected
in the businessman’s shady eye-glass,
rat’s teeth aglow- ghostly,
cast down to the machinist, splintered from the craftsman’s hands,
transposed through sheet metal & luminous sparks
sparked in the 7th factory floor
as though a harp-string plucked in a Golgotha
all iron and ash.
Parched skin, supple skin, pierced skin!
Whence bombs assembled and enabled and disassembled,
cast down through cities & valleys;
the drunken heart, the violinist,
the nurse, the teachers, the schoolchildren,
cast down to explode with the true pubic sunrise,
the cherry-blossom wept with the knowledge of fascism,
the tyranny of lust, all Flame,
pushed forward by gunslingers,
merchants, madmen, all Flame,
smiling as though the dawn smiles for them –
as though rail-workers, as though miracle-makers,
cast down to the innumerable cogs, bent at the knee for the cannibals,
the countrymen, the noble men,
the aristocrats who wail with their wives under quiet bedsheets,
though the mirror is empty.
The aphrodisiac of inevitable decay
cast down to the warriors making love in war-zones,
soldiers sent out to die;
to suckle the smoke pipe of Old Padre Death.
cast down to the news-reports
news-reporters strung out suited and sterile,
TV children cloaked in soft sugar, makeup-rags,
Mothers’ lonely hearts cradling chipped coffee mugs,
Fathers’ hats held open to salute the wind,
the church goers, the construction workers,
the children playing with an empty oil drum
a hundred hard-up angels begging in the city streets,
howling & groaning for a glimpse
of the garden.Part 2I smelt gasoline, I saw knowledge.
Bald men, bald women, medicines,
I saw crooks,
I saw the priest tip his cap to the African lady;
I heard children laugh.
The stench of machinery, stench of imagination,
the rhapsodic supplication
of 500 industry workers yawning at midnight.
The crooked wallflower leant silently toward the sun,
drunken musicians neck the neck of rum,
and welcome the morning husk of doves.
I saw mercy blowing smoke rings
beneath the apple tree;
thieves, gypsies, dancing around my father’s grave
where sunflowers bloomed silently.
Silent in the tender rain I saw
silent mothers rocking their babies
in crochet blankets.
I saw a murder of crows prophesying the televised war
perched on telegraph poles.
I saw politicians & addicts share
the same Athenian tongue, the same dreaded needle,
the same green eyes.
Green was the stained glass,
blue was the sky,
I saw a procession of loves,
lovers, men, women, wedding carriages,
all in white, all in lavender;
I imagined saints.
We saw the true naked star
of the true naked soul
beneath the water that peeled
of the poet’s scarred back.

We did not look into the eyes
of The Veiled Lady.

I was never closer to heaven
than when I saw a child steal a peach
three days after I realised
the war had begun.Part 3Terror – they worshipped their bodies with perfumes
in gloomy candle lit rooms hung by oaken rafters
perched elbows on white-wash windowsills, palmed
against spectered glass
exhaled spectered forms, whispered and gazed
and blew wishes through waves of Whitmanic fields repeating woe;
stories of criminal fame,
terrible prophecies,
crisis and crises re-imagined; their heroes hands –
hardback American verse & English troubadours of angelic infancy –
dirt roads of dust and gold-flecked smog in the murk of
irksome summer afternoons.

Racing through country roads from the house, the tiled roof,
haven and eternity, where broken ladders lay collapsed
in the sun, running, standing still,
the glass presumed cracked –
they gathered flowers, discovered hemlock, thought themselves
Platonic. They waited on the weather and lay women to bed
worshipped them and warned them of the end,
wove them mysteries –
they married, made promises of feather tiaras and Venetian masks
but woke up drunk; sad and forgetful,
kissed them goodbye on the cheek
and stalled cars on great escapes. They wept at green automobiles
and proclaimed heresy upon one another.

Theirs was the maker of piteous love,
the constructors of June’s midnight cradle, they became
farmers & bartenders, consumed folklore & fictions –
madmen madly frowning at gravestones, swept metal
filings from the factory floor at midnight, entwined themselves
later with medicines and wine, magnificent murders
beneath the aging alder trees – and later to the river, the quench
of rain and storm, sincere with danger they invented ghosts around
field-fires where tin-cans and newspapers exploded unbelievably in the night.They themselves infinite, James Dean lookalikes lost in Candyland,
warranted, wanted for criminal activity of lust and burglary,
crudely hidden away beneath raptures of prayers and priests, nothing
empty; eye-whites washed with harmonica serenades
and the promise of underwear
jettisoned among hay-stacks, they whistled over glass bottles, rioted for
no-one, wept with abandoned love and assembled Diana
over the portrait of the moon, they illuminated their conquests and
felt forgotten; they dressed in the suits of street-vendors and
Romantics, disguised themselves as their fathers
and methodically sabotaged the world’s great enemies.

They starved themselves and carved immaculate wooden-structures
make-believing the flood was imminent,
spoon-fed each other poison and plucked petals which were
thrown into gutters, daily they engraved initials
into stone buildings and listened to the musicality of the
chatterbox, believed it irreplaceable, they
planted hysteria deep in the woods, knowing it would sprout and swell
when they broke middle-age and cut themselves shaving.
They ran naked across the country in cheap silver cars and cawed like circus
animals captured for the final time, smashing Russian dolls with their fists
crying “Coward!” at their own slack-jawed faces.

It rained fortnightly and fortnightly they buried
their mothers and fathers,
each time crafting longer imperfect elegies, each time reciting
longer verse, fortnightly they remembered themselves
as babies and fortnightly they dreamed in blankets of snow;
of crooked wagons broke down some ancient track,
of vague costumes, the vague scent of liquor,
They woke teary and quivering alone in their gardens,
adorned in celestial gowns they skipped onward down the road,
the golden cloud-bank brightly trilling across their heads;
littered with doves.

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