October 29, 2016 · poetry

Burial

a wading out to dry
shaken on the sea
scattered, spattered, waiting
for the right one to appear
and are you not men of your word!
and are you not women of God!
and don’t you yearn to run your palms
over hesitating, fasting,
subsisting on curls of incense
and around to the latter-day train
look, there’s our education
on the platform.

you wiped tears, rang the bells
and nowhere was there silence
but you fled it,
buried yourself neck-deep
head-first in holy water,
spooned a sour fear free
rubbled steps on the avenue, blank alleys
a shrinking congregation
and a garrison of fire,
look where you head now
the streets are bare,
no money to spare
and the ghosts are all haunting
bygone immigrants, priestly men in their vestments,
a trail cold as bone
so shake off your friendly stupor
to tend the embers in that burned-out hulk.

the end of life a slow flame,
wringing meaning from the fallow strops heaving,
you’ve seen it go down to the end.
Erase me! Here!
throw the caul in the basket
and proceed to the kitchen, the
outhouse stinking of fire.
what more is left that you did not earn?
quick, buy the bibles,
awash in mixers and sand.
take another guinea round
and shop up here a-gain,
again with the bough-holes and rat-swill,
you lost the initiative
stepping in time
and somewhere lost your will.

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