June 7, 2006

Of war and peace the truth just twists


Victor Brauner,The Surrealist, 1947

Gimmie Shelter
-- by Bill Knott

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.

I Go Back to May 1937
-- Sharon Olds

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,
I see my father strolling out
under the ochre sandstone arch, the
red tiles glinting like bent
plates of blood behind his head, I
see my mother with a few light books at her hip
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks with the
wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its
sword-tips black in the May air,
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.
I want to go up to them and say Stop,
don't do it--she's the wrong woman,
he's the wrong man, you are going to do things
you cannot imagine you would ever do,
you are going to do bad things to children,
you are going to suffer in ways you never heard of,
you are going to want to die. I want to go
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,
her hungry pretty blank face turning to me,
her pitiful beautiful untouched body,
his arrogant handsome blind face turning to me,
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,
but I don't do it. I want to live. I
take them up like the male and female
paper dolls and bang them together
at the hips like chips of flint as if to
strike sparks from them, I say
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it

See Under:
-- by Joanna Rawson

There's a word for a beggar who fakes being blind.
Another for amnesia about all events underwater.
For the exact center of gravity in a skyscraper.
Without motive, a bullet whittled from ice
utters murder into a toddler's chest.
The sun makes a pool of water around her body
that will evaporate by noon, a shadow
advertising the precise time of death.
There's a word for a cannon fired from a camel's back.
Another for a rain gauge fueled by the sun.
For anything that lasts all night.
The rumor of a violent stormfront
keeps arriving,
but somewhere else.

Dear Mr. President
-- by Philip Whalen

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,

LOVE & POETRY

WIN -- FOREVER.

WAR IS ALWAYS

A GREAT BIG LOSE.

I AM A POET AND

A LOVER AND A WINNER --

HOW ABOUT YOU?

Respectfully Yours, Philip Whalen 10:III:65

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