Damnable Beast

purveyor of old hearts seeking

some final importance:

I was there,

said a word, saw what it was.

I was sad/kind/futile.


The cataclysm arched a decade tall.

All of us plunged when it crashed.

The worthy among us gunned down.

The rest of us tortured

skin by skin

to our resignation.

We struggled to hold

his rent, soaring wings;

shoved unprotected edges

frantically back together.

Wept as we cradled

embers in our vacant hands.

You callously watched

Foster bleeding alone

in the Bowery; Lennon collapsing

on the floor of the Dakota; young

Shakar empty life onto a Vegas street.

He was one more destroyed

in your grand American

slaughter of poets.

We heard your shadowy

whispers. We knew that you swayed

the truth, while we could never

take home and fuck

“only” the astonishing,

even if the man’s smoke

retched from out pillows,

even when his splattered words

raked bitterness under our nails —

even after we recognized

the future closing over his eyes.

Why do you bring no mercy, Beast?

We scorched revolution

into our palms.

From his ashes

we will summon


— from The Scent of Water on Mirrors