Poem for the End of Time | Recours au Poème

Poem for the End of Time

For Damon Tomblin

 

My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood
Up in flames my neighborhood
On apocalypse waves of scalene dreams
I rode past in chariots across the valleys
Tore a hole in my destiny
It was weird and cold and dark there

My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood
Up in flames my neighborhood
The B on fire the R on fire the double O on fire like breasts
Pulled apart by burning clamps
K the K of The Trial and what have I done
The L the old empty El not carting back my grandfather
To his wife of a WWII grenade and shards of violins
The Y o Y Y Y did I look into those gypsy eyes
It was weird and cold and dark there
The N the N of my name singing
God is here God is here God is here
Singing may all my enemies go to hell
Noel  Noel  Noel  Noel

My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood
Up in flames my neighborhood
There were jars turning black in my neighborhood
I saw smoke rising from them in my neighborhood
I was not stupid, my eyes were not blind
But Y o Y did I look back, pillar of Morton’s salt
Why did I bend to taste the sodden grass of the soul
Why did I leave You to go to that place
It was weird and cold and dark there
The Holy Spirit was there but I could not see it
It was darkly blue shining but I could not see it

Gaze as reverently into another’s eyes as if you were
Looking at the gates of hell Franz K says
As if standing before the gates of hell Kafka says

In my neighborhood I knocked at the gate
In my neighborhood the answer was yes
In my neighborhood I entered no longer an Innocent
In my neighborhood I became one of them one of them

No longer rinsed in the blue space of flames
I became one of them my neighborhood my neighborhood

Someone rides on a train in my neighborhood
Someone hangs off a fire escape in my neighborhood
The buildings sway ever so slightly in wind

The first time I left my neighborhood God wept
When I returned the sunsets were blood

My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood
Up in flames my neighborhood
The portal to my sixth sense pried open
The portal my sixth sense pride open and open
I don’t think it will ever shut now
Opened and opened my neighborhood my neighborhood
Every second was a walking dream
Every minute was a talking spell
Every hour an apocalypse wave on a scalene dream

Now I’m rowing, rowing, the awful rowing
The rowing of penance the rowing through all its stages
I tore a hole in my destiny
I left You my destiny
It was weird and cold and dark there

My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood
Up in flames my neighborhood
Death is a master from Bensonhurst
Death is a master from Avenue M

A dog licks the sores of a century
Lazarus, Lazarus who will be the master of the house ?
Who will be the dark funny gypsy whirling across
The scalene dreams of my apocalypse neighborhood
Telling my future to the laughing moon ?
My innocence, where is it ?
I tore a hole in my destiny

A whole in my destiny
My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood
I brought you the Holy Spirit my neighborhood
On index cards I painted them blue my neighborhood
God smiled on my neighborhood
The Creator gave me a shot of His presence my neighborhood
So as to gratify my yearning for Him my neighborhood
Now go and do likewise my neighborhood my neighborhood

America your poets flock to my neighborhood
Your beautiful wounded birds to my neighborhood
Your Holy Spirits
My destiny wraps around me like a fence my neighborhood
A fence that I will never climb my neighborhood
Bells toll in my neighborhood
Books are burning in my neighborhood
Candles are used for fucking people in my neighborhood
Why did I bend to taste the sodden grass in my neighborhood
The scalene waves riding over the cemeteries
And we will have to get down on all 4s
And we will have to get down on all 4s
And we will have to get down on all 4s and eat those grasses
For ever and ever
Amen

In my neighborhood I dreamed of you as a child
I dreamed you sat on my bed smiling at me with a guitar
Damon Daemon Damiano
You were my fate
You were my fate
Our fate was joy
How to translate this
How to transpose it
How to transcend it
To transfigure it
Grasses grasses
Which blades to lick

My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood
Up in flames my neighborhood
In my neighborhood I dreamed of you as a child
O Viking man with a guitar
Hands of gold, hands of myrrh

Fingers full of blood and weeping
Fingers full of virgins and endless weeping
Weeping as Rachel weeps she will not be comforted
My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood
Up in flames my neighborhood
With my visions visions visions
Of skull shattered martyrs in Laramie, Wyoming
On a sunny afternoon

This crazy government my neighborhood
With its rituals and spells my neighborhood
With its gag laws and baptisms
With its Golden Gloves and Southern Comfort
Rising with phoenix, rising from ashes
Rising from governments
Rising from corporate blood
Trekking it across Indonesia
Trekking it across Brazil
Trekking it across Africa
Trekking it across Kosovo
Trekking it across Emerging Markets
God weeps in my neighborhood
The South Pole has moved 15 feet in the last year my neighborhood
The ice is melting, the penguins are weeping
God why do You abandon us here, here like this?

My neighborhood   my neighborhood  my neighborhood
Up in flames my neighborhood
I call out to you who are living my neighborhood
I call out to you who live in my house my neighborhood
Where I walk around in my ghost shoes
Where I eat and drink rust
Where I roll in the grasses of cemeteries
Where the dead, the real dead of gag laws
Of Golden Gloves
Of Southern Comfort
Where they lie unconfined
Down into the memory
Down into the memory
Down into the memory and memory and memory
Down into the memory (kiss me)
You will go

My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood
Up in flames my neighborhood
Up into the penitential rite
Well-digger in the wind
Up into the yards on fire
Up into skeletons burning in bathrooms
Rattling a version of what was to come
In the stuff of weird and cold and dark
My life is an evil river in my neighborhood
My life is a penitential rite in my neighborhood
My life is the Holy Spirit in my neighborhood
My life is the Word bisected into time
My life is the Word bisected into flesh
Fruit of the vine and work of human hands
Unseen nightlong real

I wanted to see but I’ve seen too much
O Viking man
I did not go there as an Innocent this time
Meridian means circle of fire
Meridian the spirit who sang in my ear
Sang in my neighborhood in my ear in my sleep
On apocalypse waves of a scalene dream

My 17th birthday, first year in Edison, N.J., I received the following message about the end of the world:

5. The beasts shall fall through the chinks in the earth
4. Buildings will crumble
3. Possessions will begin to disappear
2. Crowds will become thinner
1. There will be a blinding light streaming through everything everything everything

I woke to the dread of my driver’s test, and to a deer with tremendous antlers looking in at me from the patio.  I did not know not to touch the glass.   I did not know:

That the animal could shatter the glass and tear through the house
That the glass could shatter and tear my throat in scalene waves of apocalypse dreams

Meridian means circle of fire.  I did not know this age 25 Gainesville, Florida, wolf-disease loping through my blood.   I did not know this and I listened to her when she sang to me shrilly of dark salvation.  I would have known I say I would have known but the week of my wedding I looked at the Holy Spirit through the eyes of

The Fool not knowing which road to take
The Magician and Priestess
Their offspring the Empress
The Emperor who is the number 4

But not the Holy Spirit Number 4
Not the Word made flesh Number 4
4    4    4    4  You are so good to me number 4
You are beautiful and radiant with great splendor number 4
So good to emit Your bluest light
Of Him most high, You bear the likeness
And no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name
But You descended down into the memory
Down into the memory
Down into the memory (kiss me)
You would go
Into Sister Sleep Number 4
Into Brother Anxiety Number 4
Into Mother Hell and Father Lie
You descended number 4
It was weird and cold and dark there
My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood
Number 4 my neighborhood
America your poets are flocking to my neighborhood
They are sick of your insane demands my neighborhood
They take jobs at dry cleaners
They take jobs at Starbucks
They take jobs in editorial offices getting their asses pinched by washed-out Medeas
They take jobs cleaning the apartments of drug dealers
They take jobs that come with cellular phones
They accept vocations of Ultimate Holy Envy
(And why, dear friend, do you have to be the Messiah ?
Couldn’t you settle for Immanuel Kant,
O beautiful cerebral ever-virgin dragging yourself across the starry sky of non-self
With your sexy blue eyes and kindest heart?)
They take jobs licking the blood from the grasses of cemeteries
Sowing their seed in the whore of the Bloomberg
The seven-eyed monster of the binary code
The digital metempsychosis of why America, why must your Holy Spirits drink of your
blood
You leave them no choice America
You leave them no choice America
But to drip their blood across energy and all its sectors

Across the monologic wind of their vexations
Across the Pistis, Elpis and Agape of machines
And the sacked altar of their mother Sophia
They drip holy blood from Aleph to Tau
Across scalene waves of your Real Presence
Of Golden Gloves and Southern Comfort
Your Miss Americas and battalion commanders turned defense plant presidents
You leave them no choice America
You leave them no choice America
And the dromedaries weep, they weep across a nation
Marking its head with a Tau with a Tau
Dripping blood over smiling caffeine-pickers in orientation films at Starbucks, USA
USA USA USA USA
The last card of the Major Arcana, The World
I flick the switch on you America
I want you to feel how it is to be S*H*O*C*K*E*D out of your body
To be fucked into oblivion
To be fucked into God-with-Us symbols of music on a page
What is this river of stars that runs through us all ?

My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood
Up in flames my neighborhood
I’ve trekked my blood all over
From Ocean Avenue to Brooklyn Heights
From Coney Island to Far Rockaway
From the communion of saints to the forgiveness of sins
From Brother Sun to Sister Death
From Kierkegaard to Saint Michel
Queer bald altar boy in leather blessing us all
Blessing Folsome Street
Blessing the Castro
Blessing the Valley of Death
Blessing Japanese Zen
Blessing blessing blessing
Us all for 20 centuries of stony sleep
Blessing us and blessing us
Paris, America, your Holy Spirits
America Matthew Shepard is an angel weeping over us
Pierced by the Holy Spirit forever in heaven
America when will you hear my novenas
In smoke rising from jars
America the Creator has given me a shot of His presence
America I stand under Atlas

Dripping my blood across 5th Avenue
Dripping my blood on the walls of St. Pat’s
America your beautiful birds
They flock to my neighborhood
O Viking man with a guitar
You sat on a bed in my neighborhood
You lay on a bed in my neighborhood
Viking man now I never see you anymore
In the night, the stars, the way things used to be
Why did I look into those gypsy eyes
It was weird and cold and dark there
Alone, alone, alone, alone with my visions of skull-shattered martyrs
In Laramie, Wyoming
America what is this river of stars that runs through us all?

My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood
Up in flames my neighborhood
Your skull-shattered martyrs your martyrs tied to fences and left for scarecrows
In Laramie, Wyoming
Wyoming of Pollock Wyoming of Guardians of the Secret
Wyoming of dogs licking a ritual
The totems are burning
The man has become numbers
The woman is an ocean and an eye

When I was 5 I was told there were giant vegetables who were trying to kill me,      perhaps most especially the giant tomato who would pound on the door while 3 6’s danced on my head.  No one heard.

My 6th sense pried open I don’t think it will stop
My 6th sense pride open I don’t think it will stop
It is weird and cold and dark here
They gypsies are no longer funny
And I am no longer an Innocent

Bless me my neighborhood for I have sinned
I’m writing that poem from coast to coast
I’m singing that poem from coast to coast
Brother of Francis
I’m making my pilgrimage from Word to Thing
From Brooklyn Bridge to Golden Gate
From Posman Books to City Lights
From LUNGFULL ! to 6500

From Fence to Zyzzyva
From Lit to God knows what they’ll come up with next
From Clover to Rohrer
From to Stroffolino to Hillman
From young Fuhrman to the rocky fault
I’m singing my novenas 9 x 9
Coffins no alphabet can contain
Coffins no gag laws can contain
No Golden Gloves
No Southern Comfort
Damon Daemon Damiano
O God rebuild my Church
It is weird and cold and dark here
Which you can see is falling into ruins
It is weird and cold and dark here
America your saints are scarecrows
America your manifest destiny is Starbucks
America your frontiers are weeping Emerging Markets
America I make money from this
America I mark your head with a Tau with a Tau
Your bird, your Holy Spirit, yours truly (courtesy of Microsoft’s Autotext)

America   Be
Righteous
Over
Our
Kingdom
Love
Your
Neighbor

America Mother Hell and Father Lie
Have poisoned all the apple pie
America I am the guardian of your secrets
I tore a hole in my destiny trying to understand you
And now I am no longer an Innocent
Bless me my neighborhood for I have sinned
Bless me for I have sinned against your Holy Spirit
Every second was a waking dream
Every minute was a walking spell
Brother of Francis pray for me
It is weird and cold and dark here
$45,000 in credit cards =$20 out of some CEO’s pocket

The gypsies are no longer funny my neighborhood
And I am no longer an Innocent my neighborhood
What a feral fucked-up riff on the Walden experiment my neighborhood
But you see I wished to live deliberately my neighborhood
To front only the essential facts of life my neighborhood
And see if I could not learn what it had to teach my neighborhood
And not, when I came time to die, discover I had not lived my neighborhood
And my eyes were no longer blind

In my neighborhood I knocked at the gate
In my neighborhood the answer was yes
In my neighborhood I am no longer an Innocent
In my neighborhood I became one of them one of them

You leave me no choice my neighborhood
You leave me no choice my neighborhood
Dripping my blood across scalene dreams
Eating the grasses of the cemeteries on all 4s
With you ever-virgin-cum-Messiah of sexy blue eyes and kindest heart
Couldn’t you just be Immanuel Kant?
It was weird and cold and dark with you
In Sister Sleep
In Brother Anxiety
In Mother Hell and Father Lie
When I listened to Meridian sing shrilly of dark salvation
Now my life is a penitential rite
My life tears through my house like a word-deer through a forest
I did not know not to touch the glass
My life is a penitential rite in my neighborhood
My life is the Holy Spirit bisected into time into flesh
What is this river of stars that runs through us all?

Viking man I stand under Atlas
Dripping my novenas on the walls of St. Pat’s
America your birds flock to my neighborhood
America your Holy Spirits flock to my neighborhood
Viking man with a guitar
You sat on my bed in my neighborhood
You lay on my bed in my neighborhood
O why did I look into those gypsy eyes
Death is a master from Bensonhurst
Death is a master from Avenue M

Alone alone with my visions of skull-shattered martyrs
Alone in black smoke rising from jars
My neighborhood I tore a hole in my destiny
My neighborhood of beautiful birds
My neighborhood of hidden cemeteries
My neighborhood of ghost shoes of Bloomberg and blood
My neighborhood gleaming with Brother Sun
Now even He is killing us too
My neighborhood someone wants to jab a Coke billboard
Through the fair face of Sister Moon

America your skull-shattered martyrs
Are fucked into the God-symbols of music
Are fucked into Emerging Markets
Are fucked into your frontiers slouching toward the rough beast of Bloomberg
Are fucked into Irony
Are fucked into your genetically-altered apple pie
I tore a hole in my destiny trying to understand you
O why did I ruin myself Brother of Francis
Why did I ruin myself I’ve seen too much
A bell tolled in my neighborhood
Books rose from the flames in my neighborhood
A candle fucked someone in my neighborhood
God please rebuild my Church my neighborhood
As you can see I am falling into ruins my neighborhood
I sing shrilly of dark salvation
I sing shrilly of essences
I sing of Douglas firs burning in the moonlight of Twin Peaks
They are burning over the Black Lodge set my people free
Come to us Emmanuel, not on a lawnmower riding over the lost highways of collapsed
daylight
Not with Lula and Sailor riding into the desert
Past accidents, past blood, past tongues of backward speech
Past the raped bodies of homecoming queens she’s dead wrapped in plastic
Past the body of a virgin washed over by ocean dross
Over a face drawn in sand at the edge of a sea
Alone with my visions of skull-shattered martyrs
I call out to you my love
I sing in the shower to you my love
I turn on all the lights my love
I kiss your beautiful wounded hands my love
Your hands full of virgins, your hands full of blood

How to understand it, how to translate it
Brother of Francis I’ve seen too much
In my neighborhood I spoke in the tongues of angels
In my neighborhood I spoke in the tongues of men
In my neighborhood a gong resounded
In my neighborhood a cymbal clanged
A bell tolled, a book slammed shut, a candle sputtered out its last
I tore a hole in my destiny
Now I hang in a field of blood
Brother of Francis pray for me
Go fuck yourself with your 30 pieces of silver my neighborhood
Shove it up your God-damned ass my neighborhood
I eat you like a tiger of shame
Like a little girl a tiger of shame
The rain is falling now on these words my neighborhood
Staining these pages as I write my neighborhood
And I’ve written that the baptism of the insider is a lettered feat
And I’ve written that the great god Dionysus tore the babes
From their mothers’ wombs and made them suckle
The firewater instead of the breast
And I’ve written that he whipped them with the purple vines
And with the purple vines he baptized them
I wrote those words after I left my neighborhood
After I was forcepted a second time at 15 from your womb my neighborhood
Now I am speaking these words smearing their black love across the warm winter rain
my neighborhood
I am speaking these words and you can’t stop me my neighborhood
The wind is blowing fiercely my neighborhood
I sing shrilly of dark salvation
I sing poems in self-help books
I sing sunsets
I sing sunsets
I sing Irony into the skull-shattered walls of oblivion
I sing Bloomberg
I sing blood
My neighborhood what did you do to your Holy Spirits
The are raped by the candles of Irony my neighborhood
The bells are tolling my neighborhood
The books are filling up with resounding cymbals my neighborhood
I lift up my candle my neighborhood
The rain is falling even harder my neighborhood
I am speaking this poem as I’m writing it my neighborhood
People are walking by wondering what I’m doing my neighborhood
When they ask I ask them to bless me my neighborhood

The last man said he would bless everyone my neighborhood
In this river of stars that runs through us all my neighborhood
I will ride over scalene dreams in a paper boat my neighborhood
My words will rise like phoenixes my neighborhood
Alone, alone, alone, alone
From Ocean Avenue to Brooklyn Heights
From Coney Island to Far Rockaway
From Brooklyn Bridge to Golden Gate
From the communion of saints to the forgiveness of sins
And Irony is the most wounded bird of all my neighborhood
Her wings are painted black my neighborhood
She covers her knees with a shawl my neighborhood
She rocks back and forth in the dusk my neighborhood
Perhaps some raggedy sense will in fact sneak back into our lives my neighborhood
Irony is the most wounded bird of all my neighborhood
She speaks like Diane Sawyer yet she is a Jedi Knight my neighborhood
She rocks back and forth and cries all alone my neighborhood
20 Centuries of stony sleep my neighborhood
And we will have to get down on all 4s and eat the grasses of them all

Saint Michel Foucault queer altar boy in leather blessing us blessing us
Blessing us from Folsome Street
Blessing us from the Castro
Blessing us from Japanese Zen
Blessing us from Paris
Blessing us in a chador
Blessing us in hospices
Blessing us all your Holy Spirit

We climb past midnight my neighborhood
We climb past Kafka my neighborhood
We climb past literary theory my neighborhood
Where Baudrillard proves the Gulf War never happened my neighborhood
Where the starving bodies of Iraqi children disappear without a trace my neighborhood
Into signifiers dancing like bloody hooks my neighborhood
They are the well-diggers in the wind my neighborhood
We rise up past our yards on fire my neighborhood
Yards full of ears and skeletons in bathrooms my neighborhood
This is the stuff of revolution my neighborhood
It has been light-sabered into your skull-shattered martyrs my neighborhood
Your dead lay their hands on us in absolution my neighborhood
Your Holy Spirits, your birds shitting their Todesworten across the grasses of a century
my neighborhood

Achtung my neighborhood
Achtung my neighborhood
I tore a hole in my destiny
I drip blood on your Church walls
I sing my novenas from smoky black jars
And the movies that eke past the death machine
And the movie where the oracle says, maybe you’ll remember that you don’t really
believe in any of that fate crap
Do you
Neo
Neo
Well, my neighborhood, neither do I believe in any of that fate crap
Brother of Francis pray for me
While I lift up my candle over my apocalypse dreams
The Word will cross the forest like a gazelle
And bisect itself into time once again
Bless me Father for I have sinned
Bless me Brother of Francis for I have sinned
Bless me Viking Man for I have sinned
Bless me Kind Virgin with sexy blue eyes for I have sinned
Bless me my neighborhood for I have sinned
Bless me again with your beach chairs and trees
Your yentas and supermarkets
Your invisible bookstores and handball courts
And Brother Sun who is so radiant
And Sister Moon who is so fair
And your birds who see fit to graze my hair
Go now and sin no more my neighborhood
But always remember my neighborhood my neighborhood
Remember the black jars and stony sleep
Remember the visions of skull-shattered martyrs
The apocalypse boats of scalene dreams
Remember the rowing of penance, the rowing through all its stages
Remember the tearing of holes in destiny
Remember the squares that were darkly blue shining
And sunsets of blood
Remember well-digger in the wind
Remember the signifiers clinging to us like bloody hooks
Remember the skeletons rattling bathrooms
Remember the forests full of suffixes
Remember in the bosom of Mother Hell, on the shoulders of Father Lie
Remember the B on fire the R on fire
The double O pried apart by burning clamps
Remember the K of the K of The Trial and what have I done

Remember the low murmurs in L-shaped rooms
The Y Y Y asked of the Once-He-was-washing-the-world
One and Infinite, annihilated,  –ied
Remember the N of God is here God is here
Remember that light was
Salvation
Remember your Holy Spirits
In all that is seen and unseen
Remember in Hatred, Injury, Doubt, Despair, Darkness, Sadness and their dear sister
Irony
Who is the most wounded bird of all
Who weeps in secret in her raggedy shawl
Remember your birds grazing each other’s hair
From Ocean Avenue to Brooklyn Heights
From Coney Island to Far Rockaway
From Posman Books to City Lights
From Brooklyn Bridge to Golden Gate
From Brother Sun to Sister Death
From Paris to NYC
From Indonesia to Brazil
From Africa to Kosovo
From Alpha to Omega
From Aleph to Tau
Tau marking our heads where we weep without ceasing
Remember the low murmurs in L-shaped rooms
Remember in Hatred, Injury, Doubt, Despair, Darkness, Sadness and their dear sister
Irony
Remember through the tearing of holes in destiny
Remember the 4s that were darkly blue shining
Remember the sunsets full of blood full of blood
Remember that the Creator loves us very much
And that the Creator has given us a shot of His presence
And that we are stars in the same endless river
I lift up my candle my neighborhood
I call out to you my neighborhood
I sing in the shower to you my neighborhood
I turn on all the lights my neighborhood
For this we were given a voice my neighborhood
For this we were given a voice my neighborhood
For this  for this  for this  and for this
For this we were given a voice
My neighborhood  my neighborhood  my neighborhood

 

[in The Iowa Review ,2003 and in Poem for the End of Time and Other Poems, Wave Books, 2006]

Source: Poem for the End of Time | Recours au Poème

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