C. R. W. Nevinson. A Taube. (1916-17)
Silence, amigo, men are dying.
Once a fiery cannonball, blazing missile,
now the perfect arrangement of strewn youth.
Who's today's hero?
Lenin is dead
and so are the children of this dark place.
This impermance suffices to say,
well, maybe in the next loophole,
that we all gotta go.
Saturated in the emotional counterplay, wait!
Who's dying? Not I.
Who's arguing the cause of existence?
Or its annihilation? Or its subterfuge?
The rights of these generals and undergraduate
innocents, the rights of the children and
what was once playtime...
Once a lovely view through Chicago,
now ghetto mania, ripped apart by city planners
and big rats.
Look, when you live this far out into space,
the whole scenario unfolds slowly
quietly violently until the entire population is
blinded by syphilis or controlled by
machine gun or worse:
When is the final Judgment?
Overwhelmed by hostility and a protective instinct,
the war could be won by pregnant flies.
Does God mind? Is he sinking into an old skin
or rummaging through letters we've sent him?
Does he save our prayers like birthday cars?
Mi amigo, I look at the stars
blasted in my imagination and they break apart
as real as I am sitting here,
letting the tape type and erase all this
Tired, tired, tired of your slender view,
I swim to the backroom, open the window,
call your name, "Omega!"
and then reform.
Audience is not necessary for my anger,
eating leaves is natural.
Friend, friend, at best
we can move to the suburbs
or buy a condominium in Miami and
learn to speak Spanish.
I march from living room to
kitchen in search of Russian refugees, I want to
feed them and breed with them and
perhaps hear their stories.
Is anger hereditary?
If so, we'd have a wild race of
You and me, amigo,
standing over these deceased,
we've got a long way to go.
The feeling is living in the skin, dormant
at best we can heat ourselves on the death
fires escaping from the bloody nostrils,
and I won't cry through
the gates anymore or open my view any
wider than theirs and we may be safe
a few more years if the rats
don't find us first or God
decides to make a kind of emergency landing.
As long as he sleeps and the flag
keeps on flying, we'll be fine.
(May 30, 1977)