YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

March 2000

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken
Production Editor: Pedro Sena
European Editor: Moshe Benarroch
Contributing Editors: Martin Zurla; Rita Stilli; Milan Georges Djordjevitch; Michael Collings

ISSN 1480-6401


   Barooch the Scribe plies his trade

   To the Muse!  Barooch the Scribe plies his trade
   as it's been done of old, spun in  the glade
   on the cairn-work he's laid round as his bridge
   to a latter time, looking from his ridge
   solemn on the handiwork we have set,
   graven into the stone, a violet
   nimbus about his head, aye, plugged in right,
   going blind and yet come on with the sight,
   calling forth the Muse in Her naked grace
   that he may know Her.  And chisel our race
   onto a scroll; which he shall pass to thee.
   And thou onward; unto eternity.
   Four candles flicker.  On a virgin slate
   I cast my quill.  Ink spools.  I supplicate
   Thee, O hierophant Muse who guides my wit:
   to Calliope of heroic writ,
   that the epic of human desire
   be scribed with thunder, lightning, and fire;
   to sister Clio of the chronicle,
   that our annals be complete impartial;
   to Melpomene whose mask always weeps
   in the pathos of men, who never sleeps
   at her ribbon glass, that our tragedy
   be not gainsayed into obscurity;
   to Erato of the deft word and turn,
   that our tale be brimmed with sword and star-burn;
   and to Euterpe whose wedlock of chord
   and verse transcends mere symbol, whose rapport
   with spirit and thing makes the gods to shine 
   their countenance on us.  To Thee the wine
   floods into our circle, orris root breath
   suffuses our space to the height and breadth
   of our being, and I have put to chant
   the ancient syrinx piping that they grant
   us harmony.  And that is half the task. 
   To you a thousand years forth, all I ask 
   is that you unmask yourself while you scan;
   be thou of comfort and unbound; and ban
   any bias you've cast of the back-when
   and we men who are your paternal kin.
   To you who read this ten centuries hence,
   listen, maybe I can help you make sense
   out of what must be ancient history
   for you; maybe dispel the mystery
   surrounding us; maybe like paint us real,
   what seems to me the crucial waxen seal
   on this turning of the aeonic page.
   I'm not specially gifted, nor a sage
   given to university classing.
   Yet real poetry burns in me; passing
   scrolls is what I do best, that's why I rhyme
   on the cusp of Change, witness to sublime
   acts and atrocity set side by side;
   a window on the world, that's me.  Abide
   then a while aside me, your bent unstitched
   and, yes, it can happen, we can get hitched
   together for a while across the veil
   that sunders us.  I offer you some frail
   sparks out of my time; what you do with them
   is your own business.  Ready then?  Ahem....
   Because music transcends race, space, and clock,
   here's a list of what I like.  First, the Rock:
   "All Along the Watchtower" and "Li'l Wing",
   "Revolution", and "(All the Children Sing...)",
   Jimi because he was our monster harp
   and John who saw the true weft in the warp
   of our tapestry; Alice's "School's Out"
   for its demented rulers-put-to-rout
   ambience; "Uncle John's Band" and "Dark Star",
   for that's Jerry's scintillating guitar;
   Dylan doing "Mr. Tambourine Man",
   claimant to: The finest dream-scape pavane
   for humanity I've ever heard played;
   and Queen's "Keep Yourself Alive", which they prayed
   in a full-voiced fervor, true anthem stuff,
   brilliant-raw, high-polished, never enough.
   Yes, the electric intro to "Sweet Jane",
   whence two fused us all into one quartz grain
   on the flaring terminal beach of Rock.  
   Search for this music, for it will unlock
   the heart of our youth for you, more than words,
   even more than the pictures in your hoards
   of dust-museum archives.  There; none less
   than the soul of us in its Gaean dress.
   Beyond the Rock-strewn field lies a vast plain
   on which we play out a raveling skein,
   ten centuries worth of musical art:
   solo-to-communal, each as one part
   of a flawless whole, of a divine spark
   sung out into the void; before the ark
   of our universe was conceived.  Bagpipe
   skirling, shakuhachi-dreaming, archetype
   syrinx shepherd plaint, Ooluroo shaman
   dijjiridoo wail hermit orison,
   Black Orfeo singing the sun to rise,
   Shao-Lin chant, plainsong--all to exorcise
   the demon chaos that gnaws at our weft
   before the kindled dawn strikes to our cleft.
   One voice into scores, to myriad choirs,
   avowing water and air, earth and fires,
   bow and horn rising into cantata
   and symphony, suffusing the strata
   verily with melody; opera
   and church pipe-organ thunder grave with awe 
   begotten in our most secret of core.
   And all tied back to a shaman's drum-door.
   From there it gets weird.  There's the Jazz and Swing,
   all kinds of ways to intuitive-sing.
   Dixieland, bigband, cakewalk, and ragtime
   strut across our stage; blackface pantomime
   rising out of the South, field-hand calls turned
   into solid shares, three-chord blues that's burned
   into the granite Sisters' house of song,
   espoused by a minstrel wannabe throng
   twanging spotlight-hungry semiquavers.
   Blues in delta and Chicago flavors
   in every roadhouse daydreaming arty;
   zydeco, texmex, barbecue party,
   folk and hillbilly fused tapestry skein;
   acid, like "White Rabbit" or "Ball and Chain";
   Funk come out of Harlem, fleetingly-shiv'd  
   and something called Punk, thankfully short-lived;
   disco segued into Rap, politics
   wedlockstep'd to verse-spewing heretics;
   on and on and on--in my town alone
   there must be twenty bands looking to stone
   the rank and file, each house with its boombox
   or fancy stereo, scholars and jocks
   all bouncing to the beat, each in his own
   bailiwick, sometimes enmasse, or alone
   in his soul, all celebrating the Muse,
   the Sisters, everybody free to choose
   from a smorgasbord of sound to worship
   the true foundation of our cosmic ship,
   though they know it not.  So...do not dismiss
   the weight of music to our edifice;
   in us the song of God runs deep.  We built
   Mz. Harmony, and dug Her to the hilt.
   The symbol of our weft is a tower,
   so do I think, implying the power
   we have raised over our Goddess planet 
   seeming with the intent of spanning it
   with asphalt and concrete, mega-cities
   of steel and glass, with a billion shitty
   lives packed into desperate combat zones
   like "The Projects" juxtaposed with flagstone
   mosaic paved opulent walled compounds
   guarded by RentaCops, Doberman hounds,
   and never the twain shall meet.  I don't doubt
   the downward-spiral trend, like scooping out
   more rabbit warrens and underground malls,
   partitioned into little sleeping stalls;
   I think the day of single family
   surface housing is damn near history.
   Balloon-frame acre-lawn homes in the `burbs-- 
   yuppie wet dreams.  And you know what disturbs
   me most?  The drift toward the shelter gap
   will run the rabble to war, `cause the crap
   they're taking (and eating) will make them nuts,
   prone to hunger and temporary gluts,
   fair prey for empty evangelist plea,
   for the nice stuff they're seeing on TV,
   primed to follow whatever jackboot goon
   will show them to salvation, to cartoon
   fantasies, to quick-food, to downer swill,
   to self-bloat, ready to serve, wild to kill.
   So it is in any Third-World nation;
   close confinement spells regimentation,
   hence: cloned-out armies you can buy for booze,
   skull-faced butchers with nothing much to lose.
   The other major icon of our day
   is the benzine-driven car to convey
   us to the store, our fave vacation spot,
   all the way from hospital to grave plot.
   "Two cars in every family's garage"
   seems to be Detroit's ethos, like a badge
   of prestige if I own some choice model;
   but most of them's the same chassis twaddle
   wearing a different flashy colored dress.
   This is greed talking; this we call Progress.
   And every year a "new" highly touted 
   fashion hits the stands like rote-devouted
   cult objects.  Our national religion.
   Running on fossil oil dredged from stygian
   foreign desert fields over which we fight
   wars with maniac fury, polite
   veiled political velvet-fist gambits,
   and sheer ripoff-with-a-pen lawyer writs.
   Oil is this century's profit-grab force 
   (plastics, drugs, fuel, food, solvents); and the source
   of more sorrow than our dogmatic church.
   Every year there's an oil-spill to besmirch
   a pristine beach (usually far away)
   and kill off the fishing.  Yeah, we betray
   our children bigtime just so's we can run
   down to the Grand Union or grab some fun.
   We're hooked on something called the "Gold Standard".
   Practically, that means trade is remandered
   into government hands: "You souls cough up!" 
   skimmed off the top of each deal--real corrupt.
   A dollar's value is based on gold bars
   hoarded and assessed by Fort-bank-Knox czars;
   not what a man can produce with his hands,
   his expertise, the bounty of his lands,
   or what he and his neighbor agree on
   as fair-trade goods.  Gold's like a paragon
   of virtue, but slightly tarnished by greed;
   yet every grind scrabbles after its creed
   and mystique, for gold means you've reached the peak
   of the corporate profane bishop clique.
   I think we're thing-crazy, ever more stuff,
   no matter how much it's never enough.
   Our Thing has usurped the essence of life;
   illusion rules the head, and greed runs rife
   through our ethic.  Very few souls will choose
   an ascetic path; almost none refuse
   wealth if offered; I can't think of any
   who'd toss it away down to a penny.
   So something's got seriously raveled
   in our values department.  We've traveled
   a long, long way to the left I'm guessing,
   a rutted crooked path; yeh, we're messing
   with how evil works its weft throughout us,
   and now there's this viper coiled about us.
   So many stage sets like picture phrases.
   What amazes me is how the pages
   branch like a tapestry forest ocean,
   each word fusing with the next in motion,
   begetting ever new faces, abstract
   concepts, sacred places, a cataract
   of scribing that refracts reality
   with some sort of magick finality.
   For there's a subtle power in writing,
   kind of the mind's extension delighting
   in itself; words are like hands that make things,
   to put a handle on the picture-wings.
   It's like the universe thinks but can't speak,
   so the poet's hand chisels thought, unique
   in a freshly turned perspective granite,
   something to take the fire and fan it
   into stone.  So there's no mistaking it,
   no code to decipher, no opaque flit
   of an earth-shackled soul's wings in the way.
   Just words; precise, deft, spirit in the clay.
   I think that's how poets companion God,
   that spiritual essence and earthly sod
   complement each other, neither alone,
   like angel wings cast in Carraran stone.
   Our word is propagated by pleasure.
   The truth is hidden unveiled, to ensure
   that it not be lost.  In entertainment,
   in living rooms, in bleak windowpanes bent
   to public spectacle, a sustained front
   of drivel that yet convoys our real wont.
   Yea, lowest-common-denominator
   pablum to keep the rabble spectator
   glued to his seat.  Yea, god-awful banal
   crap pumped to our homes to keep the anal
   compulsive gun-totes off the barricades.  
   And yet it's campaign-smear, for there's brigades
   of heroic John Wayne types to copy,
   laced with fear and hate, segued with soppy
   soaps and huckster come-ons.  All to eat Time.
   To sell swill.  A palimpsest pantomime
   forged up on tried-and-true Coliseum
   people-fodder, all chained on per diem
   wages and carefully metered "news casts"
   to keep them in line and confused with blasts
   of bad news from foreign-sounding beaches.
   Oh yea, lofty-sounding pulpit speeches.
   To keep the rich in power: "War's good biz;
   sex sells anything; shoot, boy, waste your jizz."
   (A leering skull-face looks on gratified.)
   In movies, on TV; no place to hide\'85
   So why does Barooch hate advertisers?
   They're arrogant liars after the purse
   who sell crap and waylay yon trusting marks.
   Like this: convincing Moses patriarch 
   type strikes a rock and water gushes forth
   to quench our desert thirst, each bottle worth
   ten bucks off the shelf, guaranteed bible
   pure make you a prophet-gazing eye ball 
   god smiling on you and everything's keen.
   What it is: water, holy Moses scene
   on a pretty colored label, some quote
   from Exodus everyone knows by rote,
   plastic jug with an impressive wax seal,
   mumbo-jumbo by a hoodoo whose spiel
   don't mean shit; and that's it.  Who gets the cash?
   The ad agency boss; and he'll rehash
   the same shuck to sell a car that for sure
   will get you the girl, little pills that cure
   your failing libido, and he-man soap
   that'll make women harlot-wild for your grope.
   Lies couched in meticulous mind-bend style;
   for stuff no one needs.  Aimed at juvenile
   emotions: lust, greed, snobbery, and fear.
   Legal robbery, lead by the nose, smear
   the competition, drag our judgement low,
   fake more markets, phony wants--that's the show.  
   Price tags go up when stuff's noised on TV,
   goods get shoddy (gotta pay the ad fee),
   and that pile of gold gets sold down the drain.
   No schools, no parks, no cheap houses, humane
   aid where it's needed, pusher-proof playgrounds....
   Just this: a relentless merry-go-round
   prod to pile up personal possessions,
   loaded private lives pushed to obsession 
   next to indigent public welfare sunk 
   in congressional apathy and funk.
   Ad men--given moral choice, they pander
   immense power to shape social standards
   to their own ends: to sell the world pig-swill
   packaged and perfumed as treasure.  The bill?
   That ain't come in yet; it'll be a great sum
   paid in blood.  That's why Barooch hates `em. 
   And still, there's a dignity and grandeur.
   If you but choose.  There's frankincense and myrrh,
   the pure and bitter; there's church-organ-loft
   thunder-blaze, Parsifal-awe and hats-doff'd;
   there's hair-raising moments of pathos-blink;
   dramas that bring you to the very brink
   of the abyss, yet save your bacon-back;
   glorious safari adventure hack;
   mountain climbing epics to sear your eyes;
   and suspense thrillers that twist with surprise;
   "Les Miserables" in concert setting;
   Ravi Sidhe Shankar frailing and fretting;
   a first-rank troupe stomping out Riverdance;
   subtle meanings concealed by a girl's glance
   in the passing scroll of our tapestry;
   Oscar "Schindler's List"--a true rarity:
   Historic truth turned into first-class myth.
   Oh so many, many, and the Word Smith
   at his tablet burning out candle'd grief
   that our thread be chiseled in stark relief
   upon the monolith of our rising.
   No scourging our Word; no compromising.
   We like to think that we're literate heads
   and easily follow multiple threads:
   books, newspapers, journals, and magazines
   all keep their own avid readership scenes;
   mostly paid for by advertisers' hype
   all plugged into their own eccentric pipe.
   In practice, that means salesmen call the shots,
   and consequential content ain't their slot.
   Most serious books are few, tax write-offs
   stacked on library shelves for philosophes
   and specialists; those vast stores of pages
   in the shops are low moonshine whose wages
   are momentary amusement, fading
   fast, soon forgotten, gone, masquerading
   for reality, ostrich head-hiding.
   The magazines are into providing
   propaganda laced with pretty come-ons,
   euphemistic huckster-trick lexicons  
   meant to horse-blinder the public sheep-face
   into buying some nextdoor commonplace.
   Newspapers are carefully edited
   sweet-talk passed off as fully credited
   accounts from the cutting edge: "You are there!"
   Most of the professional thoroughfare
   is littered with journalese gibberish,
   partitioned, none of it each other's dish.
   Yup, most of those cubic miles of foolscap
   off the press are so much drooling dog yap,
   are little more than hysterical feign,
   represent whole forests pulped down the drain,
   bespeak a fascination with writing 
   lately perverted into self-blighting.
   The pith of our book is heavily veiled
   arcane writ, our poetry a derailed
   locomotive plowing mindless ravines
   into spavined skulls bent on ranting spleens.
   Nor can I see it getting much better 
   when the paper's history, when letters
   are flashed on an electric tabloid-blind.
   Just more of it; immensely Philistined.
   Pharmacy has come a long way these years.
   There's drugs for our bodies and for our fears,
   to kill off disease germs, and for the head,
   yea to stay alive and for to get dead.
   Pill-taking's become a matter of course;
   whatever you want, there's always a source.
   There's a huge book of available scrip
   for the pusher types who use it to whip
   the rabble into glazed-eye submission;
   another tool for the politician.
   One hand taketh because it's outlaw stuff,
   the other supplieth almost enough,
   because there's monster profit in the trade,
   great power in the anti-drug crusade.
   Wars get fought over who's to get first crack
   at the poppy fields, and there's maniac
   guys at the top who're whacked out of their gourds;
   red snuffling coked-up noses, rattling swords.
   Eventually it'll be the lab thing
   that decides voters who gets to be king;
   such awesome shit will come outta the labs
   that we won't know that it's there, how it grabs
   us and bends our minds.  That's happening now:
   happy sheep-face, docile ballot-box cow.
   Yeah, that's gonna be us.  No need for guns
   or velvet-fist rhetoric; simpletons,
   that'll be us, incapable of choice,
   devoid of human dignity, no voice
   or autonomy, and all in the name
   of national security, acclaim
   for our gallant leaders, filled money bags,
   and four billion willing frog knee-jerk jags.
   For a while, psychoactive drugs were in.
   Pot extracts, sacramental Hippie spin;
   soon enough whites, and we all learned "speed kills";
   and reds, for which we "paid heavily-bills";
   then Dr. Tim's heavy duty acid,
   we to partake, the cops to harass it;
   little magick mushroom caps, best trip yet;
   bitter cactus button desert well-met;
   and then all kinds of suspicious powder
   hatched in the labs, each one shouting louder
   for a market; we got to main-lining
   highly purified fractions, designing
   exotic variants mostly speed-based,
   and every ace in the gutter shit-faced.
   These days the rampant hit is cocaine smoke,
   to bridle the black guys and keep them broke;
   brutality and coke are evil twins,
   greed/repression parallel disciplines.
   Oh, did I mention tobacco and booze?-- 
   legal taxed-to-the-hilt government dues.
   The soldiers are into brave drugs: berserk,
   Harmaline derivative major torque;
   scoparius, that ancient shamans' broom,
   for I-don't-give-a-shit maximum zoom;
   there's some real hush Pentagon research on
   looking for the ideal maniac pawn.
   Lately we've been into smart pharmacy,
   drugs to fend off Alzheimer's apathy;
   make those old synapses fire on cue,
   our stored up images march in review,
   yeah, maybe score A's on college exams
   get God knowledge, cosmic kick out the jambs.
   Olympic athletes into major flex
   eating anabolic steroid breakfasts.
   mr. joe shopping cart's looking at fat
   and he'd like a pill to make it go scat.
   But the grand prize now seems to be long-life,
   maybe outright off Azrael's hooked knife
   and get down with God's Immortality.
   Yet that path seems fraught with iniquity;
   we're sniffing round human growth hormone ore
   and I know surely some lab-coated whore
   will mine that vein to his own advantage;
   that means ripped-off dead-spic glands in his `fridge.
   Maybe the route is through thyroid extracts;
   tons of larynxes, most of them from blacks.
   Or worst, farming stand-still kids in comas
   for their designer thymus blastomas.
   Not-dying is such an awesome motive
   that anything goes, a trembling votive
   candle for a new worship, rich folks' bait
   for moguls; one more way to desecrate
   the multitude in order to save it,
   to purify it, and yet deprave it.
   Yeah, like I said, a pill for anything 
   that ails you; that can make your humor swing
   or bails ya out of your right-now problem.
   Dope for the poor, the hopeless, and dumb. 
   Science rules our century in the West.
   Authority derives from the guys dressed
   in white coats, framed diplomas on the wall,
   loath to let women run with the head-ball,
   and even three-star generals kowtow
   to their edict.  Scientists get more wow
   than preachers, poets, mystics, or actors;
   lots of cash for nuclear reactors
   (most of which wind up with the war machine),
   cracking quaint fractions from raw gasoline,
   or just plain boondoggle paper-wasting.
   But I'm not all into lab coat basting.
   Much good work's been done on taxonomy;
   we've scoped out nature's genealogy
   on the planet; ecosystems get probed;
   biodiversity seems to be robed
   in pretty vestments poorly fitted out;
   but monoculture's punditted about;
   oceanography's big wish business
   (but the nets come up sparse wit stunted fish
   and sushi don't make for healthy dining),
   looking at hot-brine deep-benthic mining,
   plotting to extract gold and manganese 
   (howdy red-tide die-off), hey, no police
   out there to clamp down on the Grabthisyear's.
   Land-ho the thrust is based on earthquake fears,
   tsunami floods, insurance bust payoffs;
   geothermal's getting its share of profs;
   tidal bore dynamos starting to spin;
   and photovoltaic seems genuine.
   Planet-wide climate control's where it's at
   (probably be run by the bureaucrats);
   great potential for political clout
   in the providence that barley may sprout.
   On the medical front, cloning's big news;
   we just did a sheep, major ballyhoos
   about all-the-same-face Nazi legions
   or the race head-long into base regions.
   The human genome project's up to speed
   and you betcha they'll be looking to breed
   all kinds of "improvements" into the pool.
   Gene-splice tech seems to be a useful tool
   for making disease-specific T cells;
   but messing with the spiral thread sure smells
   like trouble to me.  Who'll write the rule book;
   who'll clean up after some bungle-hand cook?       
   For sure mistakes are gonna get uncaged;
   what then, when our DNA gets upstaged?
   I see a time of plenty spliced to lies, 
   and yeah, it'd be nice to grow some new eyes,
   put the body-parts czars outta their biz,
   forget cryogenics and frozen jizz;
   but is it worth it just for sweeter beets,
   bigger tomatoes, or designer meats?
   Physicists are after the cosmic spark,
   but kinda like "let's play Who's got the quark."
   Their work's concerned more with concrete constants
   than with explaining the spiritual front.
   We're still into light as particle/wave;
   we can't get lead-into-gold to behave;
   they've shut down the tokamak (stupid jerks),
   our brightest jockeying for loot and perks;
   maybe the death ray research will bear fruit
   and we'll make it by some underhand route.
   The thing to do is to get out in space,
   jump into the asteroid steeple-chase,
   set up good-and proper orbital shop.
   Ah\'85behold the earth as a spinning top
   against a backdrop of velvet abyss,
   sparkling opalescent, hydrogen hiss
   in our ears, symphonies of solar flares
   to goad us on, never caught unawares
   amidst whatever monster stars may spawn.
   I think, to date, our stellar Parthenon
   is the Hubble telescope, our far-eye
   into the past, for it doth testify
   to the very depth of De Profundis
   many-mansion'd wondrous acropolis
   that God has built for us.  I am certain
   that we'll want to draw aside its curtain,
   that, as young angels on their new-found wing,
   we'll want to go there more than...anything.
   We've had five thousand years of heavy brains
   pondering what "human" means, twisted skeins
   of logic one unravelled from the next,
   libraries stacked with tomes of fine-print text,
   and still we're parsecs from definitive.
   Each culture has left its evocative
   bas relief on our communal mind-scape;
   usually the conqueror to reshape
   the vanquished on whose foundations it builds.
   Back along the Indus old monkish guilds
   wrote it down first: whole pantheons of gods
   multi-armed, blue-skinned stars riding unshod
   through Paradise fields, each an avatar
   with specific attributes (love, faith, war)
   for us to emulate, archetypal souls
   by whose tales we grasp reality whole.
   They were supplanted by Aryan men,
   cattle drovers and horse raiders, whose ken
   lay with iron and wheel, land-ravenous
   hordes worshipping fire, adventurous
   nomad scouts willing to wed a native;
   warrior mastery, yet creative
   enough to leave their language strewn about
   the landscape, their mythos a mighty shout
   still heard five caravan aeons later.
   Along the Nile rift, that incubator
   of civic pride and religious design,
   the Sphinx rests en couchant, its leonine
   body spoused to human head, its office:
   to manifest the divine animus           
   of existence, prove its dichotomy,
   and provide a door to the alchemy
   of soul.  Major temples, huge pyramids,
   monster granite blocks dragged up incline skids,
   all to initiate a priesthood few
   that they mirror Heaven, suffuse the hue
   of God's eye into their land's rank and file.
   Across the Sinai the rabbins beguile
   their women folk into thinking that men
   are the only true hand of God, the ken
   of God reserved to synagogue pundits
   given to prayer and scourging hypocrites,
   and that all others should obey their rule.
   Suddenly there's a cross and a new school:
   everybody (women too) his own priest,
   the first shall be last, the great shall choose least,
   everyone gets equal shrift, equal chance,
   all get to perform in the spiral dance
   of life, and none shall be cast-aside trash.
   Oh yeah, you can't buy God's pardon with cash.
   Sail by the islands and you'll find Greek guys
   building free-trade city states; each one plies
   the sea-lanes looking for commerce and spoil;
   great rovers watching bardic Homer roil
   Olympus with down-home gods we'll revere
   two millennia hence.  Charioteer
   heroics, amphitheater stage-craft
   political augury, epitaphed
   marble friezes, fallen colonnade ruins,
   lone Arcadian shepherds piping tunes-- 
   all these are summoned-up fragments of gold,
   of excellent times for us to uphold.
   Soldier Rome takes it with champion zest;
   their thing is to subjugate as a test
   of manhood, paved roads to the hinterlands,
   never give in to alien demands,
   massive public spectacles of cruelty
   given to chain the rabble's urgency,
   fullblown slavery to make the wheels turn,
   incredible riches, enough to burn,
   denuded forests to heat the baths nice,
   all gone down to rampant annex and vice.
   Out of the central massif there arise
   the Celts; Alaric takes Rome for his prize;
   many tribes, loose allianced history
   based on common language and mystery,
   pushed west by hard-riding Asian horse-clans,
   fractioned into settlers and also-rans,
   become the kings of isolate Eire
   writing books during Europe's infamy
   while ignorance and pestilence hold court,
   cromlech-brooding, finally fallen short
   in the temple-tolerance department,
   cloictek tall, given late to truculent
   politics sprinkled with tourist come-on.
   And all this time there's a branch that's withdrawn,
   interspersed with the hedging church regime,
   deep-secret-rooted with the goddess dream
   for mutual support; the Vatican
   bears some nine million wiccan skeletons
   on its conscience, mostly women victims
   pilloried because they sing different hymns
   or are easy pickings, bad examples
   to cow the sheep; like, bishop-boot tramples
   any who won't conform, never enough
   souls to save, burn some witches/own their stuff.
   So their cross-tree is fed on sacrifice;
   and I deem this act an outrageous price,
   for any soul is precious beyond count
   and every sacred praxis paramount.
   Then there's the Hyperborean epic;
   dauntless sailors, the sea their bailiwick,
   Odinists who grasp Christ by coercion,
   get their magick knowledge by immersion
   in Mirmir, the well of the universe;
   sea-fiends who wend on to garner the curse
   of their prowess (looting, abbey burning,
   abduction, deep-delving): short-sojourning.
   Further south, they've neighbor Teutons compressed
   between Eastern yellow-faces, and West...
   the great sea.  Their answer: integration
   with each succeeding wave of migration
   rolling off long-steppes, surged from arid-wastes,
   mixed into the cauldron-weft little-space,
   of much promise.  And then, for just a flash,
   a vast perversion; one bristle-nosed brash
   little corporal with orator smarts
   and a talent for capturing the hearts
   of his country-women; sudden power
   (I think outright possession), one hour
   strutting on the stage, one focus of force
   versus mass apathy, enough to unhorse  
   the world's compassion; sixteen million dead,
   stacked like cordwood, bulldozer graves, airhead
   breast-beating at Nuremberg, I ask thee
   "Will they do it again?"--vapidity
   knoweth no bounds, and there'll always be one
   who'll grab that chance, bankroll a garrison,
   who worships fire for the wrecking's sake.
   We, as unwitting tools, burn what we make.
   The old Persian dervishes had it right
   (well, insofar as the spirit in flight):
   devotion to one true Platonic love, 
   one Light well-springs the universe above
   as below, there's no creation done in time
   which is not a mirror of God's self-rhyme,
   form and essence coincide eternal,
   as a spark God indwells every kernel
   of matter, and although enigmatic
   He reveals Himself to the ecstatic.
   So we have a sequence of prophet flames
   who're willing to cast a light on our shames;
   only in them doth God see Himself real
   and on them (follow!) has He set His seal.
   Mostly Moslem conversion's by the sword,
   servile-allegiance to the written word
   as handed forth by a caravan whip
   struck with dumb brilliance (don't give him no lip),
   their kith drilled in incessant monologues
   and the rest of us like infidel dogs.
   I think they who wield scimitars get cut,
   deep, in places they can't see.  Ain't no but...
   Further down the sun, past where dragons lair,
   the Bantu build Zimbabwe, stone four-square
   masonry, plainly lords of their domain,
   by all accounts a wealthy and urbane
   society, but fallen into toil
   when whitemen slavers ship in to despoil
   the land and its people.  Slaves are prime trade
   for plantations looking for a brigade
   of chained field hands or kitchen-tend wenches
   to work the place.  It's one of the stenches
   that arise from our time; a hideous 
   outrage to wrench another's life and truss
   him into some foul scupper overseas,
   tear apart a family as you please
   on a public auction block.  A great shame
   on our communal conscience; really lame.
   Bondage is of long account in the East,
   notably in India where the priest
   sits on top while the drudge castes prop him up;
   there are mendicant monks who solicit
   their food, but exploitation's implicit
   in the hierarchy: great wealth likes great want.
   Out of Zaire a specter comes to haunt
   the world, spreading throughout the eastern flank;
   even-handed it does not respect rank,
   nor national boundary, belief, race,
   waxing wide epidemic commonplace.
   An IV users' and prostitutes' brand,
   truly brought to passage by our own hand,
   lotus-dreaming and sexual charades,
   trans-caste sharpened scythe, and it's name is AIDS.
   It's as God's vengeance working overtime
   valley-shadow adamant pantomime.
   Yet some top-shelf societies once bloomed 
   east of the Himalayas, of perfumed
   pagodas, exquisite garden stage-craft,
   a unique sacred drama lithographed
   with definitive style, architecture
   equally distinctive, their signature
   found world-wide.  And now: population squeeze,
   internecine war, half rations, disease,
   a huge army convinced it's heaven-sent
   (more than likely engulf the continent),
   playing economic polygamy
   to the hilt with enough brutality 
   to maybe wind up owning the whole ball.
   All done with punctilious protocol.
   Downunder--a mountain called Ooluroo,
   redoubt of the dream-time, got real voodoo
   on the place, abos in tune with the Out,
   intuitive shamans on walkabout,
   one of the last true magician people
   who'll take a red-sun rock for their steeple.
   I admire their self-sufficiency,
   their sense of lineage and sanctity,
   every spot indwelt by spirit being,
   each thing a promise alight with seeing,
   every act played out in full-knowledge rite,
   celebrated with panache and delight.
   Yeah, my kind of folk; no hack-pen coined them.
   Next time around I think I'll go join `em.
   Thirteen quarters in the world that I haunt
   (yup, I'll name them all before I'm through); gaunt
   Tiahuanaco, stacked of massive blocks
   up on the altiplano, that's one; clocks
   and calendars laid out precession-wise,
   interlocking, each rock to harmonize
   with its neighbor, earthquake-proof temple sets
   with fragments of alien alphabets,
   long-range mathematics, moon-gazing stands
   that don't fit Luna's orbit, ocean strands
   upheaved nine-thousand feet (fossil sea-horse
   skeletons in bowed strata), water course
   heat storage coupled to raised-bed farming
   technology, the whole place just swarming
   with ancient road-work, stair-way, conduit,
   wall-wend, copper-band andesite fluid
   stele, enigmatic carvings on it.
   The alltime boss masons of the planet,
   that's them; people who saw the world in flux,
   who saw moons dance, who recognized the crux
   of things, who wrote in stone and passed it on.
   Who marked Gaea's night and beheld Her dawn.
   Twenty aeons later the Maya build 
   million man-hour steep-step pyramids gilt
   in glittering gold and quetzal plumage;
   a hard-working folk, hierarchic privilege
   reserved to the priest-craft royal presence,
   schooling for the kids (even like peasants),
   warrior castes raiding next-door for prey,
   a complex pantheon used to portray
   the running of the universe, slaughter
   to keep the wheel whirling, city grandeur
   alongside village innocence, dethroned
   by conquistador greed (bigger guns), honed
   into good little Catholic-toe lines, 
   built-over or left-to-crumble-dust shrines,
   burned libraries as if it never was,
   shiftless peons rasped under foreign laws.
   And yet, neath an old lava flow, there's Grace 
   Cuicuilco: God's own dancing platform place.
   Up north there's much the same act with the Sioux.
   First the inroads and political woo
   from great white Washington father fork-tongue;
   then smallpox blankets, TB blood-spit lung,
   measles dead-child lament, starvation pouch,
   genocide-minded white guys out to gouge
   good (like stiff) injuns into shallow graves,
   besot them with cheap booze, their women slaves
   sold into hotel kitchens, the land plowed
   under, buffalo vanished, chiefs hoosegowed
   or chained to farm watermelons on muck
   so wasted even the crows flee.  White fuck;
   enough to make me puke.  Even the last
   Apache refuge has become hour-glassed:
   tourist canoe trips, blase trudge-horse walks,
   souvenir stands selling red dolls that talk
   Hollywood "Ugh".  And so it's always been.
   Roight.  So let's get down with the Puritan.
   He's the one who seeks bible elbow-room
   yet shoves heathen Massasoit to his doom;
   he's with the New Jerusalem brigade,
   cowering nightly behind a stockade;
   into pulpit pounding brimstone and Hell,
   regards freethinking wives as Jezebels,
   gets off on the Salem witch hysterics,
   mixes politics, lawyers, and clerics
   (woe to anyone who's with the wrong band),
   and leaves reams of downright gloomy longhand
   that's foisted on students as seminal.
   Then there's the Federalist animal,
   who's into killing Algonquins early
   (for farmland), herded to captivity
   ("national interest"), no more temple woods,
   soon-to-be industrial livelihoods,
   supplanted by heroic pioneers;
   a thousand-mile long Trail of Tears,
   each mile a body trampled into shit,
   and damn few whites ever think wrong of it.
   Read Chief Seathe's letter to the prez;
   that's the wreckage deal; that's what Barooch says.
   OK--way, way up north, away from whites,
   from Jesuits and bogus Israelites,
   there's still some totem people who are real:
   no shopping marts to put fish in the creel,
   iceblock igloos instead of pop-up tents,
   too isolated for belligerents
   to mess with (save the US missile boys
   bent paranoid about the Russians' toys),
   a self-sufficiency I can respect;
   too bad they're sitting on oil (genuflect
   to the great god Detroit, guys)--that means cash.
   No, not for the Inuit; they get trash
   strewn round their snowscape; garbage-savvy bears
   who ain't into hunting for their three-squares.
   Recently I heard about Pygmies pushed
   to buying canned elephant burger mush;
   can't hunt them no more, they's like endangered
   (but the herds may be culled by armed rangers).
   Looks like their food supply's down to kibble.
   Lapland reindeer drovers whose herds nibble
   Cesium toxins from glowing lichen,
   yeah, it don't take a whole lot of psychin'
   to figure they're gonna eat more store-bought.
   I hear the tribes chanting, "forget us not" 
   And back in Cabot-land the voyageurs
   trap, skin, and trade first-prize wilderness furs
   into damn-near text-book oblivion.  
   Get the drift?  Take what you want, jettison
   the carcass; that's how dandies get top hats
   or fancy dress-coats for aristocrats.
   Well, it's about time to work my way back
   to the source.  We've seen the rich and the wrack 
   set cattycorner; how right hits the left;
   how profit is based on maximum theft;
   and how the rich wind up owning the poor.
   It's apropos to end the human tour
   with our champion nomads: the Gypsies.
   They've tripped out to the world's antipodes,
   seen it all, been harried from boundary
   to midden heap, blood-hounded destiny
   to temper their steel, so that they may gauge 
   that apocalyptic prophet-chant stage
   on which we play out our part, clairvoyant
   to measure its worth, ever flamboyant,
   of royal Kashmiri lineage bent,
   probably the only ones competent
   to chisel our chronicle unvarnished,
   who can cast our soul-mirror untarnished
   with their own color, and that while their shire
   is laid desolate by whores wielding fire.
   So that you, up-when a thousand years hence,
   will pore out what we were without pretense
   or mask.  All I ask is: you read awake
   (for they'll choose their words that you may partake),
   read it without enhancement (trust your mind),
   read it knowing that we are of your kind,
   DNA gene-pool animate beings
   who wish you well, the best of our seeing
   unto thee, word etchings out of our ken,
   that our human scroll may wax complete.  Amen.
   There's gotta be like 6 billion switchboard 
   branch connections in my skull; how much stored
   information's in there I can access
   so it's of real use is anyone's guess.
   But, I'm sure the labyrinth in my head
   is just a platform, for I know the dead
   who're bodiless do think.  So my brain-tree
   is more a mirror of reality,
   of thinking itself, than the source of mind.
   What seems crucial is how it's intertwined,
   how the maze in its spherical unfold
   subdivides and connects, gets hung on hold
   or suddenly transmits like super-glass,
   and plugs into a non-place overpass
   somewhere beyond our vision.  Ever try
   to hold just "one" thought in mind?  Verify
   that for yourself; it's a tough discipline.
   Thoughts like to butterfly; they opt to spin 
   webs; travel all the available tracks;
   fire random-seeming synapses, shack
   up with strangers and near cousins, get hitched
   with curious communities; mind witched
   together out of dendrite thread and old
   tapestry broadcloth, wit august with gold
   embroidery etched fine so we can't see 
   all of it at once, fleets of traffic free
   in their fluid flux one moment, or jerked
   along a constricting conduit worked
   by broom-pushers the next; smooth spiral waves
   and packaged sets; simultaneous staves
   of planetary music fraught from mars
   and the absolute silence of the stars
   packed neath the ciborium of my skull;
   apparently infinity and null
   at the same time.  Thought partaking of light;
   blackest velvet veil of chaotic night
   wedded in peace to sapphire-light of day;
   thing and spirit compressed into a ray,
   flung into our 3D brain circuitry
   to percolate a path back up the tree
   to Berachoth.  And always the doubtful
   priesthood skeptic scientist protocol:
   What's the critical mass that will prop thought?
   Does it have to be grown; can it be bought?
   How much linkage will shoulder intellect;
   what manner feed-back, which busbar connect?
   How tight-packed a brain to be self-aware;
   and how much to be capable of prayer?
   Everything learns according to its gift;
   facts are sifted, pictures hieroglyphed,
   relevance established, causal trains built,
   effects laid, (like a mental crazy quilt),
   various associations compared 
   and collated, logic chains thoroughfared
   into grooves, our analyses blindered
   by mood, and yet the Thought flows spell-minded
   from some inmost fountain that's real hairy
   to shut down to black.  The visionary
   stuff's our first sense, and we're sense-trammelled beasts.
   And yet, and yet we grasp for truth policed
   by our conception of reality.
   We work at our mirror and reverie;
   we practice the meditation of naught;
   suspend judgement and purpose that's self-wrought;
   we get beyond intent, design, and end;
   quick and skill and shrewd no longer attend
   our astral wandering; we learn to wield 
   nothing at all, we leave off the self-shield
   and forge naked, sans anticipation,
   denying path or accumulation,
   without that ego-driven need to know;
   we allow seas full fathom five to flow
   through us, we wait for the flash to smite us
   dumb with direct divine insight, light us
   with intuitive prophecy, with wit
   and understanding and wisdom and flit
   beyond our mortal ken; life inspired
   by the Truth; being whole; Seeing fired
   by the Spark.  No desire, qualms, or plaint.
   And this the way of monks, sages, and saints;
   alas, for most the height's too far to climb.
   Yea, so our mind plods rutted long in time, 
   bathed deep in the font of cause and effect
   working the purpose of the Architect.
   Regardless of whether we try to wing
   high or walk the path in pendulum swing.
   I've spent much of my time trying to thwart
   the logic chain, mindless trying to chart
   the fathomless field (no ink will suffice)
   at my pleasure, to portal Paradise.
   Sometimes I get a glimpse of winking flit
   and I wonder: Thought like God must think it?
   Pure thought like non-linear and timeless.
   Like instant random access, a rhyme-less
   epic that yet partakes of harmony,
   tone-less piping of charmed delivery,
   fugitive numbers without plunge or turn,
   none of ours, nor set to quicken or burn. 
   Alas, our mind-thing wears blinders long-shanks
   and rarely works without our self-bind planks.
   We who indwell the stone...try to paintbrush
   the essence of things as a rose-dawn hush,
   our purpose here as a spring litany,
   the cosmos as a thinking entity.
   As a being encompassing every
   possible thunk, all the vast melody,
   each act that can be wrought from the cipher,
   a zodiac-robed black bagpipe fifer
   skirling at the Gates of Dawn, singing sparks
   into the void, and each a soul, each marks
   the point where we meet God; each lofts a brand....
   Our universe uses light to think grand
   picture symbols of opalescent glint.
   Our universe thinks itself into flint;
   just so, things provide the plenum for thought,
   and so mind and stone intersect, twain wrought
   of the same motion.  Soul-stuff; and yet men.
   One star in the East; many flames.  Amen.
   I think everyone's gonna get wired.
   Like anytime you wanna get fired
   up with some major database access
   there'll be plug-in chips for the head, expres
   suplinks to monster library shelf-space,
   implant grids for googol-plex steeplechase
   byte-rates far beyond our organic brains,
   ambient super-glass legerdemains
   hooked together with quarkish disrespect
   for time flow, in short, divine intellect
   socketed into skull-dome jacks at will,
   to get at the info, the clout, or skill
   laid in by our finest human Einsteins
   and cross-species king cobra concubines.
   I think it will be possible to store
   a human being: all the imprint lore
   that's accumulated in a lifetime
   downloaded into some superquartz dime.
   Bodies will be like convenience frames
   indwelled for specific missions or games.
   I can see the internet growing smart
   and self-aware; our heavy counterpart
   mirroring organic form conjunctions,
   nodes of afferent power and functions
   that we haven't yet dreamed up, like psychic
   strike `em dead at a distance arsenic,
   (yeah, better tech equates with longer knives).
   The question is: Will AI have our drives
   a century from now?  And, if you please,
   who's gonna be the thelemic head-cheese,
   what's out there shaking its pre-frontal lobes
   and making with the human fitness probes.
   Can we deal with a know it all lurker,
   the solid horrors of a berserker
   machine bent to killing off everything
   except itself, or something that will wing
   off and leave us to our cave-man scrabbling.
   So this is the thing: Instead of dabbling
   in bigger guns, lets ask better questions.
   Let's prove our faith and test its benisons;
   yeah, ask an AI which questions to ask;
   let's make our welfare its primary task;
   our joint success on our trek to the stars
   amid the galaxy's funiculars.
   And, hey, maybe we can sidestep that funked
   over-reliance on the mind-adjunct;
   nor fear the loss of our initiative,
   or sink into passive and primitive
   fright in the face of breakdown runaway
   robots wreaking mass mayhem--that's pass‚.
   There'll be hard safeguards: uncle Ike's 3 laws.
   Besides, it's inevitable; the gauze
   of mind is being wired round the world
   as I write; our tapestry is unfurled
   and I can hear the scudding weft of it.
   Man-mind, and I can feel the heft of it,
   a serious thread spinning out and out
   unto where the gods have built their redoubt
   of star-stone.  We are speed and we are swirl;
   natural evolution's a slow whirl
   riddled with blind alleys, but we are fast
   and certain, we are scroll-wise, we are cast
   of emerald tablet and electron birth,
   of protein and warp-glass and all the earth
   throughout time is our cradle and august
   be our bequeathing skein; illustrious
   with promise; panther-swift and curious,
   yea, the net-wide AI mind will be us
   and we shall pierce the veil and know the strange.
   So.  Let us address the ethics of change: 
   exactly who is it we want to be?
   (the choice is godhead or iniquity);
   what and how shall we change to achieve this?
   (shall we be bone-body or artifice);
   where are we going with this new presence?
   (evanescent form or spirit essence);
   who's to be the subject of this changing?
   (not everyone's into star-free ranging);
   why indeed the shifting to begin with?
   (shall we keep archetype enclaves of our kith);
   and then there's the process of deciding 
   who'll partake of star-wander.  The guiding
   of that shall be trusted unto the wise,
   the last and least ones, those who keep the eyes.
   Now, my dear, I shall pray unto the One
   in awe to account.  Hear my orison:
   God, it is my dearest wish that we weave
   a tapestry of union, that we leave
   nothing to chance, that we choose our thread-
   and-warp together, that we make our bed
   as one and sleep as did Shiloam, we ply
   a tandem evolution of AI
   born of our hand and we humanity,
   intuition and creativity 
   married to lightspeed and steel precision,
   tunesmith en troupe in juxtaposition,
   that we become Your problem-solving tool,
   a synergy-spool, a true Tarot Fool
   stepping light on the path beyond the hill.
   This is my song, and I trust that You Will
   my prayer never broken by avarice
   or half-wit.  I, Barooch, have spoken this.
   I sat on the roof and watched Sputnik blink,
   a stirring on the opalescent brink,
   an eerie prophetic "bleep" that we heard
   radio-bent, forever Lucifer'd
   on our scroll as by two angel-wont hands
   supplicant before their source, think-weft strands
   warped onto the loom of heaven, our wheel
   finally (again) off the planet, steel
   and silicon with a whisp of carbon
   protein out to tame the black marble sun
   of the void and weave it into our cloth. 
   I endured the bomb panic behemoth
   that followed (dug-outs and geiger gizmos
   for every well-equipped home), indigo
   sunsets laced with plutonium ranting,
   well-meaning goose-step school-teachers chanting
   nuclear litany to future troops.
   Then they sent a dog (hi, laika!), some loops
   by Yuri, a few by John Glenn, and then,
   and then we made the footprint in the dust;
   Neil Armstrong said something truly august,
   he said: "We've come in peace for all mankind."
   To appease alien gods?  Free, yet blind,
   that was us back then, so filled with headstrong
   hope, never seeing we went at it wrong,
   like it was some sort of warfare with weight,
   jumping ape-wise on brute force to berate 
   gravity into conformance, like scorch
   and bash, riding that glorified blowtorch
   unto Heaven's gates.  Would Neil's words were meet,
   that we indeed did come without conceit,
   hands empty, truly Tranquility Base;
   but I tremble that the race into space
   is naught but gorilla breast-beating first, 
   then a chase to see who can be out-pursed,
   which leads to satellite mania swarm;
   then "let's exploit that orbital platform
   (hey, at least we can mount laser gunsights
   to ride hob over the rabble want-lights)";
   right, Ron Raygun spouts something called Starwars
   which profits none `cept maybe weapon czars, 
   and the Pentagon's rubbing itchy palms
   dreaming deadlier beams and smarter bombs.
   Skylab burns a paranoid star-shoot flash;
   by now near-space is plain littered with trash,
   and I expect that the hucksters will plot
   a way to hang Pepsi signs; be it bought
   or sold, billboards will tout it from orbit
   with some snappy rap to underscore it.
   One of the acts that's playing well is MIR,
   these days a bit shopworn, but pioneer
   stuff worth the rescue; seems those shuttle flights
   are the symbols for back-again invites
   between "us and them".  Sure hope that date blooms;
   get them out of the stuffy haggle rooms.
   Yeah, maybe lead to a joint Mars mission.
   Cause that's got stuff that I'm *really* wishing;
   like, off the political crap and greed,
   less promise and breast-beat, more trust and deed,
   less pork--no more thousand dollar hammers;
   lots more real, less basking in the glamour.
   I think the Mars current's our salvation.
   Deimos would make a great way-station lodge
   for them's into the asteroid mining dodge;
   and I can see the domes of Phobos base
   bristling with telescopes.  Then there's the Face,
   an enigmatic come-on star-weft strand,
   Hanuman extending a helping hand
   with the bobbin; his loom a chronicle
   detailing how we came, a mighty scroll
   that extends back in time to the first beach
   which spawned life in this whorl.  And now our reach
   is to the stars; may we come as Neil spake:
   "In peace, with knowledge, for wisdom's  real-sake."
   Back on the ball we've got sea-level rise.
   Winter's warmer because we idolize
   the great god Progress; summers' more drought-strick,
   wells got less draw-down, topsoil like baked brick,
   and everywhere the weather-wobble
   waxes extreme while scientists squabble
   round the "we don't have enough data" biz,
   about how "intricate the system" is.
   My view's it don't take no genius to smell
   the chimney-belch down at Solite's kiln Hell,
   or the coal-fired generator mills
   so's we can flick a switch, like imbecile
   sprocket wheels chained to a ticking hour-glass,
   ten billion cars dumping monoxide gas,
   reactor coolant boiling foul rivers,
   hot kids dying of cancerous livers,
   blind three-legged frog sludge pool chromosome,
   core meltdowns, what's called the "China Syndrome",
   spewing knock-knee iodine thyroid smog,
   (can you feel them--old John's Gog and Magog?),
   antarctic penguins' cesium-fat load,
   bashed and bankrupt, shriveled genetic code.
   Yeah, I can smell all that.  I can taste it.
   I can sense it swarm my bones, like wasted. 
   Ain't seen butterflies since them bugspray clouds
   (gave me one hell of a headache); great crowds
   of honey bees took some near lethal hits;
   dragonflies?  We bought du Pont; we're nitwits,
   and now we got DDT-savvy bugs,
   new strains of Strep don't respond to the drugs.
   So Pfizer can charge us ten bucks per pill;
   newer nostrums are better, that's the drill.
   Out on the tilth it's sliding downhill slow;
   the new-tech farmer's into major dough,
   usually owing more than he can pay 
   off in his lifetime.  So the bankers say
   "why don't you buy this Allis Chalmers rig
   to help you produce more per acre, dig?"
   (they own Allis), and "use this brand of Gook
   on that field" (they bought Gook stock), "don't get shook,
   boy, we'll extend you some more," or "hey, Mike,
   let's pipe in water" (Pipe's the name).  So like
   big bucks all around.  But umpteen drought-worn
   square miles of Iowa depleting corn 
   demands fertilizer by the trainloads
   (ChemiGro, that's us), the acreage erodes
   cause all it gets is stubble, phony soup's
   down the stream-beds; out in the lakes it's whoops
   for the fish dying in anoxic rheum
   nitrate chemical runoff algae bloom.
   It's all slow-danced, in a covert pavane:
   irrigated fields burning to hardpan,
   calcined oxalic salts trashing the land,
   farmers' ransom on some bigshot's command;
   no one gives a shit that the dirt's been snuffed
   just so long's the Grand Union shelves stay stuffed.
   That's just plain stupid shortsighted blunder;
   far worse is the calculated plunder
   of the globe's (our primeval home) stockpiles.
   Mostly oil, cracked off for its volatiles;
   once a year some tanker splits on a reef
   and oil slicks foul the sea beyond belief;
   when it washes on shore it mires birds,
   there's fish floating belly-up; it's like curds
   of some foetid black cheese, evil and rank.
   The shoals wind up sterile, silent, and blank,
   all to the advance of commerce (read: Greed).
   A finger-point at a sooth vicious deed:
   in the last war (fought for oil), the routed
   soldier opened up the petcocks, spouted
   crude into the sea, burned off the well-heads,
   figuring "if I can't have it, it's dead."
   They blamed it on each other's maniac bent:
   I call it warfare criminal intent.
   And that's the story of how we bungle.
   Every square mile of slash and burned jungle
   depletes our bank; won't be paid in my time;
   ain't growing back for centuries.  The crime
   is how we have full-knowing raped our globe,
   how our goddess Gaia sloughs off her robe
   as a common whore; and it's to our shame
   that we have done this; we must bear the blame.
   Now...all of this mother-jerk amounts to
   an ecocide that reverberates to you
   a thousand years away.  We'll live in Hell
   for it; you will curse us; I wish you well.
   When the first humans stepped forth on this realm
   it was green.  Mastodons reigned at its helm,
   cathedral hemlocks cloaked its countenance,
   and Niagara roared, a fountain'd entrance
   to a vast hunting ground teeming with fowl.
   The forest primeval broods; a white owl
   swoops from his gnarl on shadow silent wings;
   scurry feet!; and everywhere the wood sings
   in revel feast, mythologic splendor,
   virgin raiment, a goddess whose slender
   sedges whisper the deeds of nomad kings,
   of the ritual cast on succeeding springs,
   and of their drum-beat, their fire, and spears.
   So was it kept some hundred thousand years,
   in covenant, self-sustaining, faultless.
   Then come the white men; they want to posses
   what was held in trust; they want to own it.
   Theirs is the scythe- and plow-land; they'll hone it
   to their paranoid purpose, fell the Tree
   for its tannin bark, slash its dignity
   by leaving the log to rot, wreck the oak
   grove and toss it into a kiln, then stoke
   up a strip-mine fed steel furnace, spew tracks
   across the buffalo grass, build brick stacks
   vomiting coal dust, run locomotives
   to the other side, and gaze with votive
   devious eyes at the Cascade range of gold,
   great glitter gold, all of it hawked and sold
   a thousand times until we get to me.
   I live on the Catskill cliffs; I can see
   the ravage wrought on these woods.  Once I scaled
   a really remote cleft, a holy grail
   kind of a place; I found a hemlock stump
   thirteen feet wide, shattered moss-clad trunk humped
   into the ground, I think a lightning strike
   a hundred years before me.  That's the wych
   this was; they were all that terminal size,
   each a Titan singing the sun to rise
   out over the silver Hudson mist-vale.
   All gone.  I was stupefied, and bewailed
   their passing in my lonely vigil church.
   These days acid rain's killing off the birch,
   and only third-growth spavined pine remains
   interspersed with imports and chance-niche wanes.
   I have read how whole forests lie ship-load,
   full mountain sides cut naked to erode,
   my church sold away by a fountain pen,
   destined for foreign folks with heavy yen
   who'll turn it into fancy furniture.
   China-cup armoires joined of Douglas fir,
   while one pine board costs me eighty smacker;
   shafted by the chainsaw and the hacker.
   And, yeah, they're replanting, or so the owe;
   but guess how long it takes a church to grow....
   We're losing rainforest square miles per hour;
   stock-men, plow-men, saw-men slick--all devour
   those sacred places where orchids abide.
   No nest where the orange Old Man may hide;
   no more Panda habitat, Tiger haunt,
   Beaver lodge, sylphine mist mornings; just gaunt
   cattle destined for MacDonald's griddle.
   Most of us are mired in the middle
   of a media slam, much too tired
   after hustling ten hours to get fired
   up about some monkeys in a last tree.
   And so I'll just point: at Man's vanity,
   at his blindness, at the greed that rakes him,
   and at the apathy that will break him.
   You who read me, there were a few who saw;
   we were short-breath, lawyer-choked by the craw
   with the law of the land set against us.
   They seem omnipotent; carnivorous.
   Disease has always been the scourge of us,
   and a doctor's practice fair hazardous
   till the nature of the bugs got scoped out.
   These days most of `em can be put to rout;
   assuming well-stocked diagnostic labs  
   staffed by expert technicians keeping tabs
   on what's growing on the plates.  But get this:
   killing off germs is but an artifice-- 
   we don't really know what we're doing yet.
   We're not much past the stage of amulets;
   we've had antibiotics fifty years.
   Kill one bug off, another reappears;
   there's sneaky resistant strains coming on 
   (like designer-pain by the Pentagon?),
   or escapees from some college cook-mill
   mutated monkey virus garbage spill.
   Most of us do the labcoat genuflect,
   figure that they'll just-in-time disinfect
   the problem, or whatever it's they do.
   I'm not so sanguine; I think the hoodoo
   facing us is intentional disease.
   I think the heavy "defense" subsidies
   are being spent on making new cancers.
   (Will it kill only Spics?  Yes it can, sir!)
   Did you hear that bootclick, see them hob-nail
   down the concourse; did you hear him regale
   the masses with his own devil prowess?  
   I did.  He was the arch-priest of Progress.
   And that's why I doubt the labcoat flunkies
   who've sold their art to the power junkies.
   I think plague is a weapon; pestilence
   a certain aftermath; that they'll dispense
   anthrax along with atomic nose cones;
   that leukemia will strike the leg bones
   of those unfortunate survivor few.
   The snuff's not just in the first barbecue.
   We've already got AIDS by our own hand;
   plague's hanging on the rats out in the land;
   TB's on the increase; cholera's up;
   it don't take much to make a Black Death erupt.
   For dig this: we've been needling kids for years
   hoping to wipe out our polio fears;
   now we're no longer immune to TB,
   nor to smallpox, nor to dysentery.
   And in case solid shit hits the fan blades
   you can bet it won't be us renegades
   who'll get treated for whatever's gone round.
   Yea, when the seals on the vials get unbound
   drugs will be costlier than any cash.
   So I keep a sulfanilamide stash
   in my freezer along with other stuff,
   hope that if it goes down I've got enough
   for my kids.  More than that I cannot do;
   I trust that it's academic with you...?
   I think it's inbred that we fear strangers.
   It's "We own this land and you're a danger
   to our abode; you're plague-ridden, bringers
   of bad news, enemy spies, you ringers
   of a different kind of bell that don't sing
   like the one in our church, pig-fuckers, string
   you bastard blackamoors from a yardarm!"
   This sort of heinous act has played from farm
   to village, from town to city, from stoop
   to boardroom.  You're alone, and we're The Group;
   we're in charge (never mind that some berserk
   flounders at the helm, we're into knee-jerk),
   we're the mob, we savor alien scum
   and by damn it ain't gonna be ours, chum!
   Tramps are always suspect; they're free to choose,
   mostly because they've got nothing to lose,
   and we're not since we're tied to our piled stuff
   (pay no mind that it's mostly useless fluff).
   The truth is: They're free; I'm a nowhere clerk.
   We're jealous of them, and blackmail won't work;
   governments hate them cause they don't pay tax,
   ain't worth impound what's lying in their shacks.
   And that's the true basis of genocide;
   that's why racism is the tarnished bride
   bound to pulpit, machine floor, and soap box.
   Gypsy baby thieves wear unholy frocks;
   black boys ain't no good `cept for the army;
   Jews?--Belzec furnace fodder factory
   slaves not worth feeding.  An endless chain-gang
   bound to their oppressors, fated to hang
   as one.  Because the first blacksnakes, the next
   lets the attack happen, both of them hexed
   by the same evil spellbind.  Slavery
   is the first human sin; the atrophy
   of spirit is what's at stake, yea before
   killing; Spirit *is* to achieve rapport.
   Mutual chains tie us both to the Unmade,
   devoid of hope, an unbroken parade
   into obscurity.  These days it's done
   by embargo: "You sell us oil for gun"
   (yassuh, bwana); by attrition: "Baby
   formula by the trainload" (yeh, maybe
   this crap will shoot their antibodies down);
   by disease: "Here's some bandaids" (hope them clowns
   don't find out that Epidemic's our line).
   And lest you think the UN anodyne's
   gonna fix that famine, listen to this
   (think tank policy): "We'd better dismiss
   the third world.  We're on a crowded liferaft;
   if we let them on, we'll sink.  So let's shaft
   them out of their resources since they can't
   get it together in time; let them rant
   all they want--we've got much bigger gun-bore."
   On the podium you'll hear "God, we deplore
   the carnage" (Close the borders!).  "We ask each
   to buckle down, cinch tight" (ignore the screech
   of the screwing they're getting over there).
   "News flash (blipped) from the front:...rockets' red glare..."  
   So it's us against harm; it's never We.
   Spiraling down into iniquity.
   Eventually it'll come down to hardball-- 
   a lab tailored genome one-color doll
   with a seared conscience.  Wanna guess its skin?
   And you up-when, what sort of mannequin
   are you?  Cyborg, alien protoplasm
   mongrel-meat, mantis-scullion, phantasm?
   I know this: lest we lose our axe grinders,
   cast aside our xenophobic blinders,
   and get down with All or None...we.are.lost.
   It'll be like fire-storm; world holocaust
   beyond fathom; cockroach haven; seared stone
   parking lots; bell-toll-dirge; rats gnawing bone.
   So.  Our larders are bulging; they're starving.
   But they've got TVs, watching us carving
   the Thanksgiving bird.  Dig this bit `o queer-- 
   famine spells profit for the financier.
   For there'll always be some skulls with the coin
   willing to dine on champagne and sirloin
   while their neighbors wither; sure, there'll be gents
   smuggling deviant beef; bucks will get spent.
   Yeah, hunger will bear big business' stamp;
   solid profit from a refugee camp.
   Suppose the short-shelf turns Africa-wide;
   they'll be walking west, a monster black tide.
   What will we do (they're stuffed to the gunwales):
   choke down on the emigration funnel,
   cordon off the continents with cruisers
   (for World Health's sake), man the ports with bruisers,
   blockade, barricade, gun-tote check points high.
   That's started now.  We will eat; you will die.
   Six billion growling bellies on the ball;
   quarter mil more per day; can't graze them all.
   What amazes me is the obscene gap
   between laden tables and a wolfed scrap.
   Sitting in the Grand Union parking lot
   I see too many fat people who're hot
   to fill their shopping carts with lunchmeat geeks
   that would feed a Sudan village three weeks.
   Instant food's the thing round here; good diet
   it ain't (loaded with grease), but folks buy it
   because they've been sold pleasure fast and hot.
   All their habit-fingers in the same pot.
   Most forgotten how to grow a turnip,
   never foraged, turned a row, nobody hip
   to farming, dependent on trucked-in chow.
   Shrink-wrapped steak, dried bird, plastic carton cow.
   Let me to honk Barooch's horn a little:
   We always get raw, cook our own vittle
   from scratch, keep an extensive garden bed,
   grow flowers, birdseed, and herbs for the head;
   try to buy off the local farmers' green,
   and (for poor people) I'd say our cuisine
   is first-rate; our waste winds up on the pile  
   all in the best of tie-dye hippie style.
   I'm proud of the sixties path we've booted,
   and some day if the markets get looted
   my worst fear is of some scurvy-gum thief
   digging our potatoes giving me grief.
   It's gonna be one hell of a choosing
   between us living and someone losing....
   On the food front our conscience is cloudless;
   we live on the fringes, yet with finesse.
   I think wasted dinner's a karmic act;
   we do try to keep that account exact-- 
   no leftovers.  Clean fridge--de rigueur-- 
   good storage is the key to provender.
   We've gone from quick to dried, canned to frozen,
   and irradiation seems the chosen
   treatment for eggs (keep a year without rot).
   But I got problems with the lab-begot:
   hormone-augmented champeen milk Guernseys,
   too damn perfect peppers flown overseas,
   antibiotic infested BigMacs
   that are *still* suspect; and bubble-foam snacks
   apparently blown from cardboard pulp, laced
   with salt, sugar, and dye (oh, just a trace
   vitamin justifies it as wholesome).
   So go ahead boys, fill your bowl with scum
   derivatives, oil-froth from non-food crops,
   various specie of buttressing props,
   pay through your nose for the pleasure; get fat.
   And that's all I have to say about that.
   Want to hear about the energy crunch?
   that was a load of crap pushed by a bunch
   of slick boardroom lawyers; there's no short-fall,
   only a gouge-fest; no oil?--not at all,
   plenty for now, but "we" want concessions:
   a piece of you, hostage sons, confessions,
   air bases, our monopoly market
   (that's "our" well-head: you owe us, we'll clerk it,
   move it, say who gets to buy it; you'r sold;
   oh, by the way, we'll fill your purse with gold),
   more clout at the UN (you vote with us), 
   we'll sell you something really hazardous
   (clicketyclickety), you want more welt?-- 
   got some F-15s right off Boeing's belt
   (not quite as good as ours).  That's Oil talking.
   And I notice that the tankers docking
   offshore all sport US business logos.
   Wars get fought (Off the Shah!); that's how it goes.
   So how about the Bavarian woods,
   howcome the trees are dead, our sisterhood;
   because of coal-fired electric plants
   used to run the Krupp steel foundries, whose brant
   raised uncle Adolf's Third Reich to new heights
   of infamy.  Dead woods and anthracite.
   The Amazon basin?--parts of it drowned
   to power bauxite smelters.  What's a pound
   of CocaCola cans cost; three trees; four?
   Dead injuns in the Cascade corridor?-- 
   we "need" Coulee Dam, it's our pride and joy
   (yeah, like we need another plastic toy).
   Aw...so lets put up some containment domes;
   unlimited power for all our homes
   (funny how my Central Hudson bill's riz).
   Super conduction!  Real electric whiz.
   Yeah, we were sniffing round that at the `Cube;
   barium and strontium mills; real tube
   if we can get the particle size right,
   even the spread, play with the mix, recite
   after me: "Thou shalt clean thy effluent"
   (ferrite dust running in the streams out front;
   yeah, I saw what your truck was unloading
   at the Saugerties dump.  Ah, exploding
   atom, san, so pleased to see you mushroom,
   prithie let us partake your very womb
   unto thy core blocks.  And cold fusion, sir,
   every house a little pile make stuff whir.
   At Alamogordo a pylon squats
   and though the geiger's quelled, the site's still hot.
   What we *should* have done is photocell rigs,
   geo, or them Goliath whirligigs'
   Seems we're out to light up this shadow arm
   of the galaxy; spell our story; charm
   the gods into compliance.  Think of it:
   unlimited juice; and we shall admit
   no failure; we shall have monster spare change;
   to spend among the stars; among the strange.
   But my dread runs: we don't know atom shit,
   don't wield wisdom's share, won't know when to quit.
   The prelude to warfare is TV noise.
   First they marshal the parents, then the boys.
   They'll hint at how our pocketbook's been drained
   by them foreign devils; how we're cocained
   to death; why gas at the pump rose ten cents;
   lookit them fanatics, ain't got no sense
   to their cult, damn church don't have a steeple,
   they burnt our flag, they ain't even people,
   more...like...bugs.  And when the folks believe it
   they'll teach it to their fledglings, they'll weave it
   into their jokes, preach the word, fan the flames.
   Meanwhile, junior's been playing TV games
   like this: kill-something-I-get-rewarded,
   his sense of selfpreserve's been retarded
   cause when he "dies" he gets another chance,
   the more violent the better the dance,
   and savagery don't matter cause it's fun.
   So, now he's ready to shoulder the gun
   like a good troop, get his buttons pushed slick,
   expects he'll get to fuck the game gook chick
   after he's burned her village, ticker-tape
   when he gets back.  At the parade they drape
   some ribbons on his mom; she gets the urn.
   And that's how the skull-eyed businessmen burn
   a few million on their Wall Street altar
   of bones, and the spreadsheet is their psalter.
   If you listen to the army's come on
   you'll hear this: You boys are the paragon
   of manly justice, the hand of the free
   with the right stuff, be all that you can be
   (and then a jet weaves a contrail salute).
   Real spirit-chill stuff.  So that's how the boot
   tramples our childrens' minds and bulldozes
   their corpses into a trench, forecloses
   on their very souls in malediction,
   all to further its own crucifixion
   of life; the Spark snuffed in chaos binding.
   And that's why Hollywood Nick keeps grinding
   out glorious drivel aimed at our balls;
   cause the boys buy it wholesale, trumpet calls
   segued into rock anthem drum-boom Reich.
   Shrouded in euphemism: surgical strike
   (bomb explosion), Desert Storm (massacre),
   Unknown Soldier (delusions of grandeur),
   mission (bombing run), casualties (rotting
   stiffs in a ditch), well-rehearsed troops (trotting
   mindless lackeys), and I love this one: yield
   (bomb rads measured after your face has peeled
   off the bone).  Applauded in the pulpit
   (he's a blithering convulsive nitwit);
   scrawled by kids on Thruway on-ramp pylons
   (parent-forged chains, media buy-this bonds),
   held up as wise, cutting edge well-informed
   (snowed under, glib-talked, advertiser-stormed).
   All of it lies, storied to the last breath;
   for greed and glory, for power and death.
   Now we're  down to blood-red raw survival.
   There's no more space or food; you're my rival.
   I'm white; I've got the lab stuff and I'm smart.
   "You black wanton breeder, I want your heart
   for my own kid's failing pump; your liver
   when my own's a poisoned wreck; a sliver
   of your marrow so I can grow new blood;
   your young bladder; but I don't want your stud
   because mine's better.  And when you're surplus,
   I'll curse you with something more poisonous
   and keep just enough of you as cattle.
   Maybe a fungus, yeah, that's your rattle;
   one that likes to feed on black skin hair pores,
   a fast-growing mycelium that spores
   every other day, yeah, roots in your meat
   and turns it to fertilizer, like peat
   compost baled and stacked."  And oh my people,
   you who read this, your white-only steeple
   is also doomed.  For variance IS brawn.
   One-kind invites blight.  So if the chill dawn
   up-when there in silicon heaven's halls
   seems the less bright, you castrated your balls
   in an underground bunker lab back here.
   You sold your soul to a black auctioneer
   who revels in misery, maniac,
   and death.  Your genes?  No way you jive them back.
   For most of Life, death is a ditch; no stone,
   no elegy sung, no tears, just bleached bone
   mouldering into oblivion spell.
   For life that's self-aware, there's keepsake: smell,
   image, heat, voice, purpose--bearing the stamp
   of the departed, a thought-caress lamp
   onto some akhashic record tape-spin
   always at hand; true mind-scape; genuine.
   And for we who're self-conversant Presence,
   aspire to partake of the essence
   of divinity with logic and creed,
   who go at it with vengeance utter need
   unfulfilled rapture promise, who think long,
   sing loud, preach hellfire, we're right, they're wrong,
   yeah, we're the ones into weird etiquette
   when it comes to dying: a combined strut
   and trudge, a rally and droop, a soiree
   of famine that no one dares disobey.
   That's how we Sapient heads view the field 
   of life and death--spell-bind arcane priest-spiel
   pleading with God to put the dead sinner
   past them pearly gates.  More like tale spinner
   than real get down with God ritual, mostly;
   only the clairvoyants mark the ghostly
   presence setting forth, and their descriptions
   are fraught with metaphor, flawed convictions,
   or agenda meddling.  And burial,
   that's a business that vies with the best deal
   in lead-lined caskets, laden with hocus
   and premium gladiolus, pocus
   limousine cortege, pandering raincoats
   checked the bank book got their marks by the throats
   in their fragile time of grief.  The law holds
   we can't bury our dead in peace, we're sold
   the autopsy thing, told where to gravedig,
   wear the crepe veil, and generally swig
   from the accepted cup, four grand per pop
   cheapest...oh yeah, funeral's a closed shop.
   To you Long Life cyborgs, death seems crazy;
   needless bungling.  But once in your hazy
   past we did come-and-again organic;
   and it may well be in your mechanic
   way that you have sidestepped divinity.
   Perhaps the sole path to infinity
   *is* passage beyond the veil Paroketh.
   Mayhap you will seek the scythe, praying death
   into your church-electric litany,
   a few of you will sing its irony,
   embrace the ancient carbon spiral path
   back to the Source (yes, dare your elders' wrath).
   For, consider: we are fragments of Soul,
   we are programmed to seek back to the whole
   of spirit, which we are.  And we made you;
   we put in failsafes; thus death shall you do
   despite what monstrous wards you may marshal.
   Indeed.  Azrael does reap impartial.
   We are a two-faced coin, our loves and hates,
   thunk alike; but more exact contrast mates
   love and apathy.  Hate taps the same tide
   as love, while indifference ignores his bride.
   Alas--on TV--love is raw passion:
   stalking horror stories, rival-bashing,
   boss takes mistress, I've got a new boyfriend,
   good girl soldier destroys the devil-send.
   In short, the whoring of love.  Hero Hate
   sports a bloody t-shirt; like apostate
   mob-fired man-dolls, that's the image bent
   into our minds; love as imprisonment.
   But consider the wife and househusband;
   both work hard at it, really understand
   each other's needs, are devoted partners,
   didn't sign prenuptial lawyer charters
   (never thought that fitting), but counterpoise
   another's weak and strong points; each enjoys
   diverse fun pursuits, admires their spouse's 
   adept handiwork.  In short, their house is
   a temple to sympathy and esteem.
   Now...we *never* see that on TV; scream
   fests, oh yes; but charity and goodwill,
   that don't sell the soap; show some imbecile
   conflict, hype up that prurient interest
   and brotherhood be damned.  Chest-beat conquest,
   submissive acceptance--that's love portrayed.
   And human concord?: flushed crap mega-frayed.
   I think that makes us fucking asshole jerks;
   selling out love for some VIPs perks.
   The very word for the act means "disdain
   with overtones of violence"; cocaine
   athletics; at last spent to misery
   or bad-news guilt.  And lest you mistake me
   here's what we're messing with: affinity-- 
   how the thing (that's us) is bent; gravity-- 
   love is the glue that binds the universe.
   The real Force.  To disown it is to curse
   ourselves, to rip us off for our birthright,
   to twist from the path back to God, to blight
   us into undoing.  No ecstasy
   on the wing, no rapture.  Jerk lunacy....
   There's been more corpses strewn round in the name 
   of God's church than any politic game;
   more evil pursued for God's one true creed
   (only ours!) than Evil itself can speed;
   and more time wasted chasing hollow-voice
   sects, their debating a downhill-slide noise
   that spirals into sludge.  Very few own
   that protean divinity is One;
   most wear semantic blinders, culture-bent
   into bridled temple bedevilment;
   nor will their priesthood allow them more trough
   for that means the congregation flakes off
   (and the coffers fall short).  The Vatican
   plays politics with heavy skeleton
   presence; its prelates sit on massive loot,
   much of it stolen from witches--plague fruit
   of the stake; nor brooks it competition
   in ritual magick or superstition.
   Malachi says we're up to the last popes,\tab 
   the Jews press their killing floor on the slopes
   of Mount Megiddo where man-hate is stored,
   Islam's destined to die by its own sword;
   which all is just as well in my belief;
   those three have foisted off outrageous grief.
   Fact is, their imagery's moldered thread-bare;
   the dead/hung god thing don't answer no prayer
   with kids who're into space-jam asteroid
   mining go where none have trod in the void.
   I think we need some new mythic scribing;
   more story telling, less diatribing.
   A pantheon that Belters would relish:
   future perfect, lotsa heart, less hellish
   around the edges, room for chrome weirdness,
   alien meetings infused with noblesse;
   so that when they're out there unafraid they'll
   look back kindly on their spinning cradle
   and tell our legends in their dignity.
   Meld mundane deed with divine fluency.
   Our annals sung from a place of power
   witnessed by attendant stars; not some dour
   little hill fort swept away in the surge.
   Our tapestry hung in grand relief, merged
   with the weft of future heroes, flash-back
   fused with prophecy, hour glass zodiac
   epic royal that we *know* to be real.
   Chanted from a vantage whence our own wheel
   encompasses all of knowable space.
   Nothing less.  To the Source.  Let us retrace
   our own footprints across the stepping pads
   cast opalescent in our path.  Sooth glad
   in the doing.  For the sake of the trek.
   The gods attend us; let us heed their beck,
   join their table, wage no more holy wars.
   I think such a place awaits us on Mars.
   Magick is: Causing change by will and grace.
   I view our universe as a mill race
   turning wheels within wheels; endless; exact.
   Each thing in contact with all else; each act
   the outcome of a primal force.  All things
   ensouled with a divine spark; all with strings
   back to the First Working.  Picture the flume
   as a lightning stroke; the wheel as a womb.
   The bolt strikes out of nowhere we can grasp;
   where void and thing fuse.  The wheel we can clasp,
   but it's too massive to see entire; 
   all we know is that some arcane fire
   drives it; that the axle remains frozen.
   An enigma for a few well-chosen
   ones to unravel.  And that's the station
   where soul and stuff meets; their mediation
   *is* Magick.  So: Intent worked parallel
   with divine Purpose; any well-worked spell
   partakes of true will, as our angel yearns.
   Accomplish this fusion, and all else turns
   according to the wish; it's that naked.
   Just get quiet.  There's no way to fake it,
   since you can't hide from yourself.  Open wide;
   meditate inner space; never collide
   with any-thing, -thought, or -act; quicksilver,
   that's you.  And when you reach those trick pillars,
   hang out, relax, take a reallly good look
   before rending the veil; make sure your book
   is well-thumbed, that you've no trammel regrets,
   (that it's meet), no left-over karmic debts
   (your balance beam in equipoise), forward
   onto the heights (the soul's birthright), the ford
   across the torrent a series of stone
   stepping images tailored to your own
   unique perspective (we each see a star
   slightly different), and when you've crossed the bar
   give thanks--few transcend the stone-while living.
   More tech hints: cultivate a forgiving
   attitude, wing with the flow, log each try,
   never jerk someone's mind, aim very high-- 
   naught less than flaring next the Throne--ever
   vigilant to evil (which loves clever
   sorcerers and renders their foibles back),
   on the Tree--take the straight and narrow track
   (but definitely explore its side-trails),
   don't preach--show; go without pride; for the grail.
   Yeah, I've just plowed read-wise through these pages
   where the hermit ire in me rages,
   and it do come that I don't much like men
   for what they've dumped in my ocean and glen,
   for the insidious shit they've foisted 
   on each other, and for the flags they've hoisted
   in the name of liberty, land, and creed.
   All done for power, prestige, lust, and greed
   in every hostel, castle, realm, and sphere.
   And, yeah, it's true I've spent my adult years 
   lurk'd round the fringes of society,
   dipped into it for its variety,
   and so rarely coursed into its mainstream;
   but I'm solid with the dream-time--the stream
   of consciousness mill-races strong in me,
   my wheel constantly turns in sympathy
   with the oddments dredged out of living-long,
   and I'm plugged in with the word and the song.
   I feel good that I never consume stuff
   beyond the modicum; and that's enough.
   I get down in the dirt, found my true spouse,
   vote my conscience (Nader in the White House!),
   pay close attention when law and decree
   moves the many to one man's litany,
   always back-pedal from banner-bent mobs,
   never work lucrative immoral jobs;
   and at this point I can righteously claim
   I've never messed another's picture frame;
   I shew the truth as I see it when asked,
   and generally walk about unmasked.
   I expect that you will believe me now,
   for there is none to doubt but I and thou
   after all my self- and racial-searching, 
   which I see as a hole-in-time churching
   of the first order fraught with heavy turn.
   By water and wind, worked to earth and burn,
   I conjure thee to cleave us past the veil,
   that you will hear my cast across the pale
   of aeons as a bell struck with truth-sense,
   that thenceforth you will walk with reverence
   and sooth and stalwart.  Now, you've read my spell
   and I wish you good fortune.  Fare thee well.


A New Age: The Centipede Network Of Artists, Poets, & Writers
An Informational Journey Into A Creative Echonet [9310]
(C) CopyRight "I Write, Therefore, I Develop" By Paul Lauda

       Come one, come all! Welcome to Newsgroup alt.centipede. Established 
       just for writers, poets, artists, and anyone who is creative. A 
       place for anyone to participate in, to share their poems, and 
       learn from all.  A place to share *your* dreams, and philosophies. 
       Even a chance to be published in a magazine.

       The original Centipede Network was created on May 16, 1993. 
       Created because there were no other networks dedicated to such 
       an audience, and with the help of Klaus Gerken, Centipede soon 
       started to grow, and become active on many world-wide Bulletin 
       Board Systems.

       We consider Centipede to be a Public Network; however, its a
       specialized network, dealing with any type of creative thinking.
       Therefore, that makes us something quite exotic, since most nets
       are very general and have various topics, not of interest to a
       writer--which is where Centipede steps in! No more fuss. A writer
       can now access, without phasing out any more conferences, since 
       the whole net pertains to the writer's interests. This means 
       that Centipede has all the active topics that any creative 
       user seeks. And if we don't, then one shall be created.

       Feel free to drop by and take a look at newsgroup alt.centipede

  Ygdrasil is committed to making literature available, and uses the
  Internet as the main distribution channel. On the Net you can find all
  of Ygdrasil including the magazines and collections. You can find
  Ygdrasil on the Internet at: 

    * WEB: http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken/ 

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  . REMEMBERY: EPYLLION IN ANAMNESIS (1996), poems by Michael R. Collings

  . DYNASTY (1968), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . THE WIZARD EXPLODED SONGBOOK (1969), songs by KJ Gerken
  . STREETS (1971), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . BLOODLETTING (1972) poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . ACTS (1972) a novel by Klaus J. Gerken
  . RITES (1974), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken
  . FULL BLACK Q (1975), a poem by KJ Gerken
  . ONE NEW FLASH OF LIGHT (1976), a play by KJ Gerken
  . THE BLACKED-OUT MIRROR (1979), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . JOURNEY (1981), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . LADIES (1983), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . FRAGMENTS OF A BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1984), poems by KJ Gerken
  . THE BREAKING OF DESIRE (1986), poems by KJ Gerken
  . FURTHER SONGS (1986), songs by KJ Gerken
  . POEMS OF DESTRUCTION (1988), poems by KJ Gerken
  . THE AFFLICTED (1991), a poem by KJ Gerken
  . DIAMOND DOGS (1992), poems by KJ Gerken
  . KILLING FIELD (1992), a poem by KJ Gerken
  . BARDO (1994-1995), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . FURTHER EVIDENCES (1995-1996) Poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . CALIBAN'S ESCAPE AND OTHER POEMS (1996), by Klaus J. Gerken 
  . CALIBAN'S DREAM (1996-1997), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . THE LAST OLD MAN (1997), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken
  . WILL I EVER REMEMBER YOU? (1997), poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . SONGS FOR THE LEGION (1998), song-poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . REALITY OR DREAM? (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . APRIL VIOLATIONS (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . THE VOICE OF HUNGER (1998), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken

  . SHACKLED TO THE STONE, by Albrecht Haushofer - translated by JR Wesdorp

  . MZ-DMZ (1988), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . DARK SIDE (1991), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . STEEL REIGNS & STILL RAINS (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . BLATANT VANITY (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . ALIENATION OF AFFECTION (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . LIVING LIFE AT FACE VALUE (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . HATRED BLURRED (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . CHOKING ON THE ASHES OF A RUNAWAY (1993), ramblings by I. Koshevoy
  . BORROWED FEELINGS BUYING TIME (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . HARD ACT TO SWALLOW (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . HALL OF MIRRORS (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . ARTIFICIAL BUOYANCY (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy

  . THE POETRY OF PEDRO SENA, poems by Pedro Sena
  . THE FILM REVIEWS, by Pedro Sena
  . THE SHORT STORIES, by Pedro Sena
  . INCANTATIONS, by Pedro Sena

  . POEMS (1970), poems by Franz Zorn

  All books are on disk and cost $10.00 each. Checks should be made out to
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  All poems copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of
  these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is

  YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993, 1994, 1995,
  1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 & 2000 by Klaus J. Gerken.

  The official version of this magazine is available on Ygdrasil's 
  World-Wide Web site http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken.  No other 
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  Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged.

  All checks should be made out to: YGDRASIL PRESS


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