May 23, 2003



inspired by arm sasser:

Three Poems by Bill Knott:

Gimmie Shelter

The thread or the theme
That holds this tune
Together is the same
One that rips it open--

The initial guitar
Continues splitting
The whole thing apart--
It is the lightning

Which Jagger complains
Of and which he seeks
Shelter from the rains
Of when it breaks--

We ourselves will shut
Our deepest sills against
His common cries but
There is no defense

To keep out that other
One behind him twinned
His starker brother
Whose keening strings skein

Hymns from one more
Murderous composer
Whose cause is war
Who tears down our door--

Shelter/the home
Is made of language--
But music sunders the poem--
Its rift is like a tongue

Trying to compile all
Words into one word--
One Babel whose walls
Fall beneath its standard--

What the fuck did that flag
Say--the opposite
Of peace/of the page
Is what I must write.

Nuremberg, U.S.A.

In this time and place, where "Bread and Circuses" has
become "Bread and Atrocities," to say 'I love you' is
like saying the latest propaganda phrase...'defoliation'...
'low yield blast'.
If bombing children is preserving peace, then
my fucking you is a war-crime.

(End) of Summer (1966)

I'm tired of murdering children.
Once, long ago today, they wanted to live;
now I feel Vietnam the place
where rigor mortis is beginning to set-in upon me.

I force silence down the throats of mutes,
down the throats of mating-cries of animals who know they are extinct.
The chameleon's death-soliloquy is your voice's pulse;
your scorched forehead a constellation's suicide-note.

A phonograph needle plunges through long black hair,
and stone drips slowly into our veins.
The earth has been squandered by the meek.
And upsidedown in the earth a dead man walks upon my soles when I walk

A baby is crying.
In the swaddling-pages
a baby.

'Don't cry. No Solomori's-sword can
divide you from the sky.
You are one. Fly.'

I'm tired, so tired.
I have sleep to do.
I have work to dream.


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