Such wretched sight! They will to know my pain,
That whore, that virgin
There below, the others haggling
For my garments. I'll give them dice to toss,
I'll give them tears, ten billion
In a blinding instant burning,
Skewer them like their Ox and fit for basting,
Dispatch my sores, my cankers.
They will to know my pain!
Taste this! Your God Jehovah willed me here,
This parasite, messiah, queer,
A son of God for twenty billion years. Oh Christ,
You strain to know my pain,
As if such pain could ever come again!
I grow so inward. Sweet Christ, I grow
So inward, caught on fire,
As if they nailed a tumor to these boards,
Some wayward growth to quiver half obscene, and leak
Its juice, exude its phlegm,
Piss pus and void its faeces, drool and grin,
A sty of putrefaction chin to chin,
A smear, a rectal ache,
A senile piddle, old man's stink.
If agony could stop and think,
I'd spell perdition for that throng,
Eyeing my bloody feet,
That hope to scent my anguish for the blessed,
To scent my quest, my tears, and scent the rest.
You stabbed me with your thorns,
Almighty God, and here you stab yourself,
This princely crown, oh hear me, God,
That grips my skull
And festers with their spit,
Taunting my grand presumption, wide as Canaan,
As if I'd eat THEIR blood and bread.
Mocking my small-boned hands,
Lips that would suck the leper into bliss
And tongue the sacrament from cancer,
This carpenter, this seer, this silly dancer.
Taunting my feet, my genitals.
You stabbed me with their thorns and stabbed me well
And ate my joy and sucked me into hell.
You gave the Baptist Salomé.
This bitch is equal time, locking my face
In loins to eat my fill,
Suck wind and scum, the leavings of a thousand men,
Her monthly plague, foul blood
And Herod's semen. Such parable of filth,
Disease, won't need explaining!
They say I've never tasted flesh, oh Christ,
That all is purity in pain,
My agony as white as Pilate's bed,
These spikes that rut me on the cross,
All death that rose to fornicate,
The deaf that spoke, the whores that sewed their wounds—
Sweet God, it makes me choke!
Oh God, they ripped me from the womb
In winter, CLOTHED in my mother's uterus,
Dazzling into sight,
A humble shed, they said,
That very night wise men traveled
From the East to note what marvel quaked
Their narrow land
And ate my visage, quick
With brilliance, rimmed in sun,
As if even then I had begun to shriek in kind
And rend their just traditions,
Born of a virgin pure,
A harlot, others would demure,
Predicting that my mother'd come to grief,
The cuckold father
Plying his trade when all
Had settled down, that aching clown,
His infant mouthing sentences
At just three months,
A marvel for the dumb, a token for the lame,
The poor-in-spirit, as if the Romans failed
To fear it, this prodigy
Their flunkies failed to slaughter,
Watching my progress
In the old man's shop, eyeing the clock
A cosmos leaking from the lintel,
The harlot's plight,
A billion blind and begging for the light.
You'll catch another virgin spreading limbs
To trap the sunlight leaking
Through this shade,
Her rose-hued mounds, her trace of hair,
Blond tuft above her southern mouth,
And catch the sky that eats and eats her lips
And ravishes her scented hips.
Such gnome as pulls the curtain
Wills the rape
That centuries might turn again and gape,
Covet the wench that gave herself to God,
And sculpt her innocence, her grace,
And lick her puberty, sniff her style,
That leaks an anguish, leaks it from a smile.
The harridan I covet wafts a stench
Of rotting vulva, brooding flesh,
Cut like a canker oozing dust,
This ancient whore,
Myopic, stumbling into lust.
She strokes my thighs and pinches where she might,
This blear-eyed rank Madonna
Humped beneath my sight,
Eyeing my manhood shriveled like a bastard grape,
The shaft inverted, pissing toward my lungs.
I watch those sisters waggling tongues
To lick the semen from my crotch
And watch them crouch—it's such a treat.
The flesh is fresh. Just take and eat.
A touch toward plump, our holy mother, pale
Of adolescent flesh arching at a mirror,
Alive and innocent as kiss.
A mane of plaited hair teased back at your approach,
It sways above the rudimentary rump.
She catches shadowed features
In the gilt, the passive glass,
Eyes modest breasts,
Chin tucked, cupped in the line-less neck,
A silhouette of innocence from here,
A flash of anger in the glass.
Centuries stroke her nubile ass,
Fondle a young man's greed, so anxious, pained to feed,
Sucking her luckless image into need.
In time they'll leak my thighs
And lance my waist, a spill of juice, lend vinegar
To drink, avoid the stink of bowels
I must let go, sweet Christ,
For all the pain, the pain a son of God endures,
A fool for whores, this prick-less wonder
Leaking menses, dung,
His scabrous tongue, his anguished sight,
That simply tried, that tried
To make it right, the stench of centuries
More or less—I'll let you guess, it's now your game.
You'll borrow adage, sentiment
To make me tame.
You'll suck my name. It's all the same.
As if I didn't know where I was speaking!
At even twelve, that year I screwed
Pulling the lawyers' middle legs,
Sucking their dregs of wisdom,
Tweaking their matted beards, those weird
Old-timers reaching for their beads,
Taking their leads
From the eldest, that sac of pus,
His Thees and Thous and how the Scripture
Grants it thus,
And shaking their grizzled heads,
And scratching their jaws,
And fetching old saws and gimcracks
To ward off my attacks
On all their sanctified pretensions. My God,
I hadn't more than peach fuzz
On my chin and threatened them, even then!
And Joseph plying toward
Our native village, checking out his kin,
As if there was even more than Jesus missing.
"That son of mine, I'll tell you!"
Old goat, even without your horns
I'd surely smell you.
Found me sitting in the midst
Of forty seers, assorted saints and queers,
Their brown-bellied son.
Jerusalem, your Christ had finally come.
The laugh, a bitter one at that, is one
I'll share alone with one angry Man,
That God Jehovah,
Those years I learned the means to make
Them twitch for certain.
Forty days south of Moladah by borrowed
Burro, provisions gone,
Near dead of thirst, I found them carved
In solid rock, the monks of Clemesh,
Leeching at ultimates,
A voiceless solitude under an ancient
Master. The latter spoke
But once in seven years, the day I tore
My oath and parted, miracles
In hand, the leverage to master
In greater rock the fate of seven
Billions. Spare me
Your contempt that I should range so wide.
And overestimate? Let fate decide.
That old man sensed my wayward path
The day I broke with his tangled notions
And reached inward
For darker purport, those he called
My fantasies, illness, pride,
That urge to sway the stars, to stab my native
Land with new devotions,
A rich man's stink, a harlot's lotions.
Where was the first temptation?
When was there NO sensation?
Oh yes, I'd suffer small children to come
Unto me, but never see
My earthly son, to watch his flashing legs,
His smooth brown limbs
Dancing toward my future,
A future's lapse, a death in kind,
No death so bitter as this rack on boards,
Cruel spikes that eat my feet
And hands, no son to grace a father's knee,
No daughter, innocence and laughter.
Never to wake to comfort by my side, to trace her flesh,
A wife to carry on hereafter.
When was there NOT temptation?
Dear Christ, I would have made them eat
My words with all the power
At my side, those thousands dazzled
By my tricks, make eat and smile and smile
And eat, and scrape and bow
And turn the earth for me,
Plant seed and milk
Their goats, and tithe their portions just
To lay my stock up for my kin,
My kindred spirits, those chosen few
Who'd whisper my name in secret,
Chafing at the yoke, sucking their rancor, fit to choke,
A name a grandson never spoke.
Oh, that I made them fear damnation!
And yet I can't regret it.
Better to burn in fire
Than let me slip into some anonymous
Future. Better they fear their torture!
It was simply enough to wither
A tree to have them grovel
Like dumb beasts,
To have broken bread, poured wine as blood,
Given for me, to have them stop dead short, wince,
Quake far deeper than for any earthly
Prince, a stout equation.
Oh, that I made them fear sensation!
My virgins will be whores, my whores vibration.
And that I knew it all and chose it!
Chose death in agony
Over a princely throne,
Chose welts and thorns, a pitted flesh,
A smear of dung,
An aching tongue, chose pain above their riches.
Chose death-in-life and not
Their bitches. Chose fingers in their hearts
And not their loins,
As if I didn't know they'd sleep with me,
An ache of flesh, melting into lust,
A melting fire, a stink of touch,
The scent of virgins on my tongue,
Chose death to take me young. Chose dust!
Oh God, I feared that man,
That hoarse-voiced prophet, afraid
That he would see and, seeing clearly, force
Me off it.
Such arrogance, you might assume,
To lay it in the Baptist's camp, to dare
That burning look, that presence,
And yet, from fate to hell,
The look was all, and I the God
He'd shrieked to Romans, Jews, to all
Who'd stop and listen,
So far advanced of him he'd fear to fill
My shoes, amazed, God-struck,
After all that wilderness, his brittle voice,
The rending of his flesh,
A merciless vibration.
Such small stuff as I, as me,
Hell bent in just a year for Calvary, and he
To lose a head to Herod's bitch
That danced him to a platter.
And, rising from the lake,
That madness would forsake the crowd,
Their gathered wits, to spy a dove
From Heaven's kingdom on my head?
Lazarus, I rose from the dead,
Could not have served me better,
As if I'd bent the world toward crucifixion.
They'll surely call it fiction.
You wonder when I truly got the spirit
In me. And where WAS
The first temptation? That I would
Turn a stone to bread
And master Satan's earth, his earthly
Kingdom? Or, standing
On the parapet, leap down,
Kissing the death of harm, harm's way,
The mortal lapse of men?
Oh that, and not this sullen Jew,
This rank messiah
Wafting a stench of mightier ambitions,
A kingdom in the poor man's heart,
Scuttling the worldly blessed,
The saints, the prophets?
Just hear me out. My madness never
Knew itself so well as when a demon
Dared to try me. Fasting
Forty days, even then my ravaged brain
Would not defy me.
That madness pales against the days
That came thereafter,
That even Peter would deny me,
That I would merely touch their laughter,
That I would grease that scum, that come,
Their rancid throats, old
Pilate's friends, the rabbis, rabble,
Jews, the holy goats!
"My God, my God, hast thou forsaken me?"
Let them stuff that in the Book,
They'll never eat the look
I'm leaking from below, those addled snakes
That eat my vision,
Eat and spit it out
And reach for honeyed dew to mute the canker.
Christ, they hanker for my wit,
That even here on fire
I can procure for them some grand illusion,
Some sweeping odyssey, a jewel of flame
To light my brow, an angel winging down to scream
The pain away and cleanse the wounds
That even pus is pretty. Some celestial city.
No city for your prurient minds,
No city for such rabble,
Only a skewered lamb, full willing his demise,
Asking his God Jehovah for another kingdom,
Some scorching passage
In their guiltless hearts,
Some prophecy of sin and sin's perdition.
I would not hesitate to send them
All to hell, to burn a billion years
In acrid smoke, a leak of dung and vomit,
For such is me, this rack of lamb,
This tortured Ox, this Calvary, this skull,
Raging at predicament,
The coffin of their souls, that nest of vipers, ghouls.
Wind me in sheets, three-personed god,
Bury me deep beneath
An April's meadow. Remove the spikes they
Lovingly imposed, the man they wrenched to death
In life, full knowing death will haunt them
Like a wife, midwife their children
For its hour till some other madman
Takes their fancy. By Christ, by all
The violated virgins of the earth, you won't
Heed this! You'll burn me by the thousands,
Millions, stuff the ovens of the earth
With all your victims, simply trying
To find me. Put out my eyes, you cannot blind me.
You are three-personed god for granting pain,
A slaughtered son he orchestrated
For your glory.
And if the story's gory, let it be.
There is no fitting end to Calvary, no further
Message. Simply death, death's agony,
The teeth of all mankind chewing
On the lamb, a skewered beast,
The lamb of God diseased, deceased.
I'll give you whores, I'll give you boys
To suckle in the heat of lust,
Upend the universe for you to plow, what
Takes your fancy.
You'll grant me peace. I'll never grant release.
The day I chose the colt
For my last voyage,
Last but one, rode like some exalted pilgrim,
King in kind, toward old Jerusalem,
The very death of it,
Rode like a wayward prince
On palm leaves, scarlet cloaks and petals
Scattered on the cobbles,
Rode to my princely fortune,
A kingdom of the dead,
A wrenching of all mankind toward dread, this,
My obsessive direction,
That final connection, having stamped
In lasting terms
All human salvation, that I alone could conjure
God, his name, his blood,
His earthly dominion,
Less master than my minion, our tamed
His last aching whore. He would come no more.
And never his decisions.
There would be revisions upon revisions.
His son of God had entered
On an ass.
Stoned, mocked, lashed, thy will, thy will
Be done. Dead on a Friday,
The anointed one. You must kill me thoroughly.
You have just begun.
Oh Christ, I ache. Pitiful Christ, I ache.
These nails that eat my flesh,
A gnash of teeth and tendons,
Pus-holes draining at my wrists, my feet
Like scabs, my belly straining.
And walked the earth
And felt my power shift from just a touch
Against my sleeve, enough to heal
Some grief. And raised the dead to certain life
And drove the devils into pigs
And broke all torment—
Dear Christ, you break my heart,
Sucked into agony, sucked into fire and spit,
Lisping your mantras and the holy writ!
YOU'D tell my story if you truly knew
My pain. You'd spell me out.
You'd eat my doubt, my final doubt,
You'd eat despair. Oh Christ, these thorns
Are just a tenth of what I know.
The worst of it's below,
Those haggard, believing faces,
The soldiers gaming for my robe,
Sweet Mary aging by the minute, and Magdalene,
That whore that braved it all,
Dear doubting Thomas who would feel for blood,
And God himself, almighty God—they suck
Me dry, lusting for some splendor.
I'd torch them all. They look like tinder.
Dear Christ, there will be drama!
Is it my sight? Here the sixth hour there is
Darkness on the earth,
As if your mouth has eaten half the sun.
And darkness deepens, darker than my heart,
If such can be, a hole as black
As perjury, Jehovah's kiss,
Barely a blood-red light to glean the crowd
Beneath like Judas railing.
And still I'm wailing, neither dead
Nor dying, simply molten lava itching
Through my entrails.
It is not enough to feel. I feel their fear.
This death is crazed, heaving toward another year.
Dear Christ, I've murdered my first soul.
It is past my reckoning,
Beyond control. So Judas burst.
I have heard the shriek.
Here the ninth hour, I am ravaged, weak.
I have heard your shriek.
Oh Christ, dear God Jehovah, hear me speak.
If only I could call it back
You'd hear me speak. You'd hear Creation's pain
Flooding this skull where I'm gripped to die.
You'd hear my cry.
The pain would flood the earth.
If only death were birth! It seems I'm finished.
Dear God, by death alone I'm not diminished.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This poem [all 23 sections] was written
in 3 5-hour sessions without a word struck or altered.