THE UNITED STATES OF DARKNESS


Inside your dark streets the children are gathering,
inside your television sets the squid unrolls
inside your heart the murmur of bees
as the slow waves of heat roll over car hoods,
rising higher than your house
and break, with a tolling of distant bells,
over your couch where you sit, notebook & recorder in hand,
awaiting word of the apocalypse.

The word
is here,
I put a spell on you,
I am the messenger who cannot be killed,
I am born of the flesh of the night,
one of the beautiful, luminous children
left by the killers to grow up in an improvised dream,
scissors
cut paper,
paper wrapping stone,
scissors shattering on stone,
and your stone breast, your stone thighs,
your granite eyes, the tips of your fingers flint without a spark —
No sweet white man comes from the sky,
no exit from the true freeway,
no sun rising to flood the pavements with light,
and the grass-fires flame on desperate hillsides,
wind from the desert,
and a black wave of heat inside your heart
to marry the marble bed you toss sleepless on–

While you go on waiting
here is a string of beads
to pass through your fingers —
I saw a woman, one of the children, who saw everything about you
in a single glance of her blowtorch eyes,
and she carried a xerox of her tears
as evidence against you,
but she refused to testify to your guilt,
she could no longer bear to be merciful.

The stick man on the cross went up long ago,
burning with the houses and the churches and the colleges–
What remains for your waiting?
Your silence,
your tongueless mouths,
your dry and windless voices,
your barren brains, the stalk vibrating & your eyes, crustacean,
unseeing, wavering in dark water,
drowned in an animal impulse, the reverberation of a heartbeat,
a black & indefinable music
that accuses the trail you traveled on, back, back
to the first steps, knowing nothing but to buy
to search, & to destroy–

Inside your night streets the children
are gathering,
a watch crushed underfoot, pets scattering
as the fire-shadow flickers on the windshields,
and the long tubes glisten, falling,
an endless wailing as they hurtle
towards the exact center of the computerized map,
your flesh and your bones soon in the harvest
of this machinery without a pulse,
bubbling of video-games, a refrigerator-door closing,
a beer-can popping open, and beyond the dunes
a woman crying out as she comes,
& a lion roaring,
wind
rising…

(Gregory Hall, late 1980’s. R.I.P. I know you are working from the other side. Man, could you SEE.)

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