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Nathaniel Tarn

From: Dying Trees

      7. Fratricidal Roots

The root is failing in its pain — not the upper
root, the bronchial, but the lower root, the penile,
that which secures the lineage. In pain, the action
acted out. The ‘they say’ about ‘they say’ and how
money is needed now to fight the cancer. ‘They will be
punched into the sea, drowned, utterly destroyed,
covered by waves, becoming archaeology for later
archeologists (maritime type).’ Then there’s the other ‘say’:
how ‘these are being rammed inland, hemmed in, caged,
charred in their houses — not the cool sea — but terminal
annihilation of the land-trapped, waterless,
the city-less, the country-less, the land-less, minus patria.’
It is obscene. The fratricidal strife of two related clans
which overlap, which can’t be torn apart, and all their
contents; the strife unending, un-negotiable  —
geography will never swallow this, it must desist.
How can you  buy the myth of the small country — sad, packed
with ghosts from gas, torture, rape, hanging, shooting —
now said to face thrusting into the ocean:
(no! even though they all took place indeed those savageries)
no: it is strong, is powerful, ferocious, far more so than
everything arrayed against it. I come down through
the trees — if they were olive trees, if sandalwood, if
cedar, in the burning light of the low desert — where
this is high, where this can snow, where this can also
rain, bleed blood. Death of these trees stains off onto the death
of all things else. Yes, even humans. Do not ask
money, wretches, you who are always asking
money — for such and such a pain, or insult, or the
vandalism. Sickness at hearing of it, at never hearing
end of it, and never reaching end of it, at having
heard it since one was gotten born, in womb as
well, before the soul-formation it would seem,
in the ancestral lineage, climbing back up the tree, right
up into the origin of light. Same sadness, selfsame
wound, for beauty of it, for bomb in flower, for the strap
of martyrdom around the waist. May all the books
that talk of such self-immolate. Explode. Evaporate. May
the atrocious trinity of books destroy itself. May never be
another deity like to these deities. May exhortations,
these endless exhortations cease. May body lie
in pure, in unadulterated pain. The suffering be pure,
unwashed, unsung, yes uncreated. May all
the cities cataract into the desert. That there be end
unto this stench. Yes that the sun burn down into
these mountains and these plains, collapse across the land.

      9. Golden Globes of Hopefulness

‘I’m gonna see you get that golden globe award’
                      John Hartford

Operation successful. Sentinel node unreached
by the disease on its rampaging conquest —
although pathology to follow for certification.  The golden globes,
those fertile golden globes of every size, shape, texture
available to size, shape, texture in global paradigm —
to which men’s frail attention forever wanders —
but they are dangerous. They are the script
of tragedy. Small globes thrive in the larger ones,
containing each the crab, my legendary totem,
the which, in this disastrous, never-resting guilt,
I’ve used to kill more than the populations of the earth.
Mainly the dream-folk, broken, tongueless.
This is the last hurrah of the indigenous:
the time we take the land from them — for come what may
whether we’re left or right in politics
we need the land and suffocate to seize it.
Land, gas: a time of spoils approaches. Criminal oilmen
and their puppet maniac can only daily croak Irak Irak.
There are good reasons for terminating this
Irak Irak.  My father never shot his wad Irak Irak.
And now, the rain this morning. Brown trees,
the dying in their thousands — that were not born for death
immortal trees — continue drying. But rain shows up the green
push of the young, at tip of each live branch, standing in contrast,
sometimes in brilliant contrast right up against a brown —
and hope, kin to the overwhelmed relief in re the globes,
throws a man down to floor again, again, again — into the sleep
of justice. But this, this brown, is unsustainable:
they are too few to hold the goods; we are too many now
not to win goods: the center cannot hold, nor the periphery —
the iron globe that feeds this rotting world
must, dry and milkless, at the morning moon bay one more time
like the coyotes of our native land. The polity
has been an enterprise so criminal from its conception
it is a miracle a tree has ever grown there, single tree
oh never mind a forest. It is at war with the whole universe
wearing its garb of peace and its angelic wings,
mouthing its dithering self-satisfaction, wafting those wings
toward Irak  Irak. Once it was Nam and Nam
and then the targets getting ever smaller
until the giant strike on Glorious Grenada. But now,
it grows again, inflates, swelling the iron globe
(we shall have empire on the entire world) except the globe
is black as sable, black as ink this time,
black as burnt human skin —
to the utmost degree. Hope, only source of poetry,
chickens its way out of this heaven into no other hell.

Jacket 22 — May 2003  Contents page
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