Friday, October 14, 2011
From CHARLIE CHAPLIN MEETS THE WAR IN VIETNAM (November 1970)
Were you damaged in the Fall?
Weren’t we all? Weren’t we all?
Do I feel as good as new?
Yes, I do. Yes, I do.
And who would think to look at a violet’s face
that it had seen, some other place, all the bones
of hell. And what a great change in the leprous
carcass of one man’s dog to come back laughing
and wagging its tail as another man’s cat.
And to pull free of the earth of sorrow, hatred,
and the hungry dead – and, beginning Now,
any you of you and me of me, to pull ourselves
inside out, and then to step out completely
from what has been, and invite everyone you meet
by whatever means they will understand to walk
through the archways of their dear departed selves.
The final conspiracy is Open to All. That the Way
is straitened and a thousand voices wail along
the Way, unweaving our hearts, we shall endure.
That a shadow always falls across the Gate
makes the Gate less difficult to find.
And there is only one true lover for the heart –
the mind. It leads us ever out through hell
to whatever heaven falls like the grace of morning rain
on the blue beaches of the morning mind.
Everybody, come through here!
The Great “Who, me?” carefully trips
on its stumblingblocks and falls, glad to be caught.
And all the Who‑Done‑Its and the Let‑Me‑Be‑Its
are gathered in the tomb where there has been laid
to rest one late God, alias Jaweh, alias Allahu/Allah,
alias Odin, alias The One. And a great mechanical
gear raises up the stiff old corpse, and it says,
“You are all my children!
You are all my chosen people!”
And then wheels fly, a scaffolding sinks to its knees,
and a whole contraption dances itself to death,
And all the grimey shrouds fall from the crystal clearings
of Byzantium. The old way excuses itself for the burp
of its long grey ghost
drifting now like a scarf
This coin I have minted here from my dying
is but to buy bread for the living and not
to be swallowed but exchanged in the language
of fingertips and words, art, work, books, tools;
the language of finding still another reason to touch
and be new‑minted from the hand of the Human.