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The Issue

I see the sadness in the world, the malevolent madness
of the dogs of pain snarling at the moon in the tree of life,
the way people cut and claw and desecrate each other
and walk away as if there were a victory in the slaughter, a hero in the butchery
that hacks and packs the corpses in the shrieking streets,
the raped daughter, the man on his knees who bleats for mercy
from indifferent gods whose thunderbolts have changed to cattle-prods.
Little, petty people everywhere, runts of the heart and mind,
wee weak ones with the poison syrup of your smiles
distilled from killer bees, you who like to grind your heel into the human face
and celebrate your hydrophobic power as a state of grace,
I ask you here on planet earth, this dirty tear among the stars,
in this horrible hour between birth and death, are you a race
of vicious midget, spiritual pygmy, or emotional dwarf,
when you were given breath and blood and light,
were you an atrocity of genetic reciprocity, did you wince at the sight
of yourself in the mirror, repulsively queer and full of fear,
did your mother abandon you on a stone to rot,
give you to a circus, an abortion clinic, a church step, a garbage bag;
are you angry for all the things you know you’re not; do you gag
on the beauty of others, their gifts, their truth
and plot a coup to overthrow anyone who isn’t you, your puny proportions
the prototype of all your replicate distortions
until the earth is filled with ugliness and grief,
and even the strongest are consoled by the fact that life is brief?
What hideous art scars the bitter apple of your heart like a worm
and thorns and norms the form of every thought with malice?
Are you a fly in the chalice, a maggot, a convulsion of dirt;
are you washed clean of yourself by the tears of those you hurt?
Everyday a hundred species disappear, oil and faeces
smeared across the living face that’s mirrored on the waters,
and the moon repelled by the odium of what its light must shine upon.
Lucky the stars that burn so far and furiously away
from this disgrace of molecules and ghouls that only the fools
in schools for the deaf and blind look for reason in the treason,
error in the terror that you wreak. You see birds,
you learn to fly. A century later whole cities die in a flash of light
at the end of your quest for flight. You’re born with a tongue,
you learn to speak, and you say the rich must have what they seek
and the poor will bleed until their hearts are withered by need.
You’re given eyes and clear night skies and a mind behind it all
in a world of revelations, and you learn to see and name,
and by the time you’ve festered into maturity
the vision is grimed by the smog of your vain obscurity,
nacreous cataracts the skies that fog your eyes,
and you’re laying the blame on the picture frame
that holds nothing but the death mask of you, eyes closed,
and yours the signature of the artist for whom you posed,
but nothing of insight, nothing of character disclosed.
Brutal monkey, murderous ape gland, prenatal purge,
is this the world you planned as a gesture of spite,
this jest and riddle of misery on the verge
of serial catastrophe to gratify your calamitous urge
to indict existence for your devolving plight? Here among mystics, lovers, poets, painters, sinners, saints, singers, astronomers and clowns,
mesmerized by night, or useful as day,
what embodiment of pain justifies the febrile tides of hate
that animate your imagination for decay,
the treachery of the cannibal heart that leeches its own clay?
There must be a hell for you if nothing more
than to meet yourself as you are
behind every opening door, in every house of pain,
in every abattoir, scrying the gore on the bestial floor,
to discover your own features
in the severed eye and lifeless hand of a hundred million creatures.
You’re insane. Every thought, a blister of the brain, a scar too far.
These were your teachers, and every time you applied your iron rule,
and raving in your dementia, or rationally composed, killed one,
you liberated another buddha from a fool, another sky, another jewel
from the treasury of your own lie,
the one that beats on your heart like a drum
and never lets you forget
that for all the noise you make in the empty silo of creation,
you’re not the harvest, you’re the crumb.

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