Category Archives: Revolution

“They Make Such Declarations”

“They Make Such Declarations”

They make such declarations, don’t they? They bet their lives
On all they see and we’re inclined to give
Them credit for’t, and…perhaps they’re right, but then of course we live
As they do, fully eased, appeased; put on and off expressions
as if they were utensils, knives, or possibly our wives.
Production far exceeds the numbers, bounties burn by definition into
wastes along the warm Caribbean shores.
Invoking freedoms–as we who have are wont to do–
The sanctified continue to enjoy eternal noons
In this world’s latest bloated day. With upraised palms,
the intensity of incense fails to mask the telltale odour;
A mile beneath, the ooze is upward, vapours restive here and there,
And as the Titans yawn, Egypt bellows, shaking gown and hair
In all directions, scattering the saints of more than latter days, who dared
Her only yesterday to state her case, and lay her precious assets bare.
Migrants in the fault-lines smile, regarding who must rise and fall,
but when the prayers have ceased and denizens of Cairo weep
Surely, even Isis bleeds. Her boils drained, her coffers fleeced,
She voids another thousand years before she sleeps.

“The Test”

 

“The Test”

The test is in the poem’s weight, nothing equitable but fair,
And in and of itself an offering, a discrete particle in an innocuous conceit
Upon some higher power in the substance that in its sleep
Has left the path and all the usual signs and banners with little thought or care
To what it means to shoot the moon and sun,  to know what has came
To pass to mirror movements  of the moment; receivers quickly feign
Reaction to the pen and page and all such shibboleths as questions beg the reign
Of order in a desperate bid for substance and recognition inertia that sustains
Momentum in the swamp and swell of ownership by a simple dint of will:
Mindless arbitration comes to mind as sparks defining truth spill
Words and destinies and budding paradigms, the seed and fruit of every hill.
Both will measure every valley undetected, unrestrained.
The eye, the plume, the generations of the word itself must all reveal
An effortless encounter of win and lose no matter what the deal.

“Humour Is Impossible”

“Humour Is Impossible”

Humour is impossible in the throes
of serious contemplation of the most potent question
ever asked on any secular page of literature:
“To be or not to be, that is the question,…”

When faced with such a query,
who will denigrate his own
imagined station and position within what is,
after all, a lethal situation for all of us?

The bourgeoisie cannot afford to ask the question;
the rich above the need of contemplation;
the poor too oppressed by the instincts,
the daily needs of hunting and gathering

simply to ensure a continued existence
in this world share  a modicum of
some comfort on the odd occasion.
The rich experience nothing because

every effort costs them nothing;
their pride, therefore, is rendered moot.
The bourgeois may well seek to own his world
in terms of expressions of what he imagines

the bailiwick of their betters,
and indeed, but fails to recognise
that ownership without purpose
sustained over a generation or two

is inevitably the prescription
for yet another application
of the Peter Principle
or the Dunning-Kruger Effect

and, as with poisons can provide
as great a lethal punch to the soul
as it can be in beneficial form to the body.
The poor experience the wonders

of life, struggle, and death but have no voice,
no language that does not promote
anything short of need at best, sedition
at worst when given half a chance,

and in the odd instance passing freedom from sheer want.
Witness: from a tax revolt in 1776, America did without its king;
1789, the French its monarchy and aristocracy;
1917, the Russians their czar, their aristocracy,
Their bourgeoisie yet all revolutions failed.

…But, Nymph in thine orisons be all my sins remembered,
strip away convention, then, and turn to prose….

Given all of the above and the advent of the credit card on the one hand, and ubiquitous Federal Reserve Bank Notes, the logical use and result of the invention of the printing press, what might have been humorous in the past has lost its flavour much like one’s wad of “chewing gum on the bedpost overnight,” simply because whether one addresses true tragedy or its counterpart in comedy, both rely on some helpful word as to what constitutes the intrinsic good or, in short, the presence of virtue and its ultimate outcome, nobility, vraiment…. Without such a word, we have no choice but to think nothing is too sacred to denigrate, belittle, or even to crucify, as the history of all of the many Prophets and Messengers of God, not to mention spiritual philosophers have experienced and met Their ends; what, then can be said of the qualities of the arts and sciences, and the “pith and marrow” of any given society on this planet?

In the end, what constitutes a poet if in fact the characteristics of the artists and sciences have been laughed to scorn just as those of the basic institutions from the kings, popes, religious leaders of all kinds, lawyers, doctors, teachers, nurses, librarians, professions of all sorts. Once one has laughed at God, Himself, it is difficult or even impossible to maintain any semblance of nobility; what should the present two or three generations expect but that after what amounts to almost continual world wars from the 1840′s and straight into the present hour? So much for religion, government, and so much for the arts and sciences, and ultimately so much for the sanctity of life, itself; if Hamlet had some difficulty in maintaining his sense of humour in a Denmark rotten to the core in its banquet days, what, then, can be said of the “remains of the day,” as it were, by the by, so to speak, as the crow flies, in our sweet time, …que çela reste entre nous deux?….

“Do You Hear Laughter, Ramses?”

“Do You Hear Laughter, Ramses?”§

Do you hear laughter, Ramses? Perhaps a slice
Of whatever’s left of Kurdistan? The Yemen or Sudan? From the imams
Some slight adjustment in the going rate for poppies in Afghanistan?
Did you believe you were the first? By chance, would it be nice
To be the last?… but then again, there’s something lurking in the dice
And if by chance the six’s multiply to but thrice, the horn of Ethiopia’s
The prize for service with distinction, by default a supra-cornucopia,
Or just another nosegay for an ordinary day? Memories suffice
So far, my friend, and comes the cosmic slap when what was only yesterday
A casual promise warms up yet another Oedipus who in neglect reflects
The ancient legend in the latest model of the child to help defray the odds
On probability that this time, the Messiah’s come embarrassing the gods
Who claim another virgin’s loss an evening or a day’s diversion. Prospects
Multiply like maggots on the carcass of what’s forgotten anyway.

§ The title of this sonnet comes from a line addressed to Pharoah in the film, The Ten Commandments and came to mind as I stood on my balcony facing south and wondered at everything I’ve heard from Irán where just a few weeks ago, in one small village, the homes of the Bahá’ís living in that village were cruelly leveled in an attempt to rid the villagers of Bahá’ís without notice, without due process of law, without arrests, indictments, without any reason in the world except that they were Bahá’ís. I wondered at how anyone in my religion could be considered a threat to anyone else on this earth and particularly the established governments and leaders insofar as Baha’is are absolutely forbidden even to discuss politics and are rendered incapable of being a threat to any government or leader through the very Scriptures to which thy subscribe, and yet, for the last three years, a group of seven men and women have languished in Evin Prison in close and uncomfortable “rooms” or cells with nothing to sleep on but the floor and all this before they were summarily convicted of any crime, denied access most of the time of counsel, cut off from their families, and with their “trial” constantly postponed over this period of time so that even if they are ever set free because there is no evidence of a crime of any kind in any of these people, they will still have been imprisoned without a “By your leave!” with no compensation at all. Of course, I also wondered about the latest news from Egypt which inspires staring in disbelief, from events in Algeria and once again in Irán, from Jordan, Greece, from God knows where throughout this entire worried and worn planet. –Once

http://news.bahai.org/story/807

“No Hurry Here”

“No Hurry Here”

No hurry here, my friend. We’re good.
Suns rise, planets phase, the stars occluded
In eternal night for us, denuded
For the spectacle of the age as well they should,
Arranging, rearranging, fires aging, and would
It not be so, we stand here drowned in light, deluded
In the glories of the senses; the curtain down, the play concluded,
No more weighty moment waits than any stage could
Bear before the audience and the players notice
Satyrs in between the acts, their gains and winnings never noted
In the dusts of righteous critics in the press save to meet their deadlines
Like haughty dandelions and crabgrass choking fallow fields consigned
To be the wonder of some future generation’s panoply in the cosmic lists
No more nor less erased in time, no more nor less devoted.