War Orphans

23 Sep

In Greece range many goats and peasants, old ruins
slide seductively up next to you, your tour bus seat
wet with the perspiration of tourism's ego,
and they whistle down your neck, inviting
you in for a closer view, a bottle of brew
and a native look into your purse-string
mentality. You remember not
the peasants of your own dry, arrid backwash,
as you sneak past Ptolemy's submarine intelligence
and sail the high Mediterranean cheekbones
of a beauty which will never be yours
to sell or inspire. You claim powers
separate but indivisible. You caress
a sweet lamb's woolen sky
a moment at a time, you tell yourself—
and then off into the next war you race
a long way to go for economy's sake.

Rome is a lion's den of passion, and there is none
whose impeccable beauty matches it body for body,
where genius and vassal alike marched headfirst into the eye
of her borrowed king's major sun. Bartering for a love
you had read about in the film industry trades,
no choice was yours but to puff up your sex toys
mouthing lewd colors, and fall into
the same paragraph Mussolini
wrote Ezra Pound in a fit of angel tenure
stalking slow explanation with nine hungry prisoners
to feed—Copernicus and Galileo and their crippled sister,
people carrying people to the rope of regret.

To fly to fair London where in spots English is still spoken,
you spare your very finest silk underwear odes. The clock
reminds us there of social stares where poets play
guitar and the children can't weep. Iced tea
and words like export, involvement,
and the king's divorce, provide the stranger
the wide gulf most manic voyages through instinct
bled back through ages Blake, Wordsworth, Auden
forgot. Cool safety is a damp trial in the pit
of drizzling pomposity, ambitiously full of
fresh opinion armies where Johnny Rotten
would spit the fat sickness, repayed
by urban privacies and a charming public laity,
fiscal socialist agonies the sulphur of St. George.

Tradition is bought pennies on the dollar, witnesses
gathering on the White House Lawn wet their pants
in Murder Row relief, outlining your latest hit list
no longer the sounds of Roberta Flack or Marvin Gaye,
but of takers of the routine shortcut driving the herd
deeper into the jungle, brain waves and assault weapons
spraying powdered milk, shoving shy rain mosquitoes
into the grave not even George Washington could defend.
Measuring sick thespian vacancy with the same
motley precision a syringe injects its fistful of spitfire,
some other dead prophet Martin Luther King rolls over
squashing the maggots he fed in trenches of glory, privacy
oh privacy and the black nothinghood gangs littering
our scared and scarred streets, denying reality's heavy lip
thus clings like a sea-dried ghost over the forefather's city
washing in the blood of not the lamb but the wolf
where statistical impulses anxiously numb

rob the same paragraph these interrogatories rib.

[ 1995, Washington, DC ]

© 1995 - 2013, Gabriel Thy. All rights reserved.

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"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""