The Godforsaken

Before the godforsaken

had time to swallow…

they knew who first

judged what out of dreams

came truly real*

and he was fastened to a rock

and they knew who

stirreth up the people and dippeth his hand**

in the dish with Judas

and he was nailed to a cross

And they read books within books

about wise and foolish virgins

and signs of the end

and love and judgment

and they heard God talk

through the mouths of men

who talked about him

his son and the holy ghost

 

When spectators provided the notion of reality

Christ and Prometheus

were objectified and subjectified allegory

spheres of hope and rebellion

courage and prudence

temperance and justice

and how they chose to read it

in the time before terror

depended on what level

they chose to see it

 

Pity

incredible people and prophets

who function as vehicle

for literal, moral,

and anagogical levels of meaning

 

Before the godforsaken

had time to swallow…

they reused and refashioned the heads

of emperors in their own image

because they could

they reinforced power and authority

with legitimate political imagery

like the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses

and General Holofernes

They respected the classical past

in fertile crescents of greed

and they rejected classical design

in the center of ruins

 

They housed the rock in the dome

on which Muhammad ascended to heaven

and hung the Virgin Mary’s blue robe

in Chartes Cathedral

and it didn’t burn

and they appropriated columns

and Corinthian capitals

and called it the holy triumph

of Islam

 

When denizens of form said

Nothing is new…

The godforsaken asked,

Since when?

since the Lion Gate

since the Great Sphinx of Gizeh

since Doric and Ionic orders

since the Palette of King Narmer

since the Parthenon

since Stonehenge

Since when?

 

They stood in the light of starry nights

in the drum, coffers, and concrete cylinders

of uninterrupted space in the Pantheon

and made no apologies for ripping off

master tracks from the past

and heard the hip hop train

sampling every post-hit

with unripe music and blood

and mounted the heads of gods

on the manifest

like the catalog of procreation

in Genesis

 

They heard his Mother

three blocks away

on parallel streets

screaming redundantly

You won’t take my child!

You won’t take my child!

at the vigil where transvestites

whispered about how many times

her child was stabbed in the neck…

 

Lord have mercy!

Who are these motherfuckers?

on the bottom rung of the Ladder of Descent

trying to climb up

on the backs of allegories

floating in fleeting and airy hope

part of the story

part of the sin

 

Before the godforsaken

had time to swallow…

 

He knew

that love ends

as it begins again

on rocks and crosses

in books and dreams

and politics and imagery

under domes and temples

in music and song

and blood and death

in stories and sin

and in the hands

of God

~ the Swallows are building.

 

Copyright 2004, 2013 E Maria Shelton Speller. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

*Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound

* Matthew 26: V21,V22,V23,V25

 

 

A Valentine for Angela (for Angela Davis and George Jackson)

When you see Angela

Give her… this Valentine

 

Tell her

No code of morals

Or pastoral sermons of redemption

in bastions of struggle

nor private language

Or puritanical divinity

from the tyrannical gatekeepers

of black consciousness

in Baptist Churches

Where the house of God

like the people are falling

and bibles are missing

countenances are broken

and carriages are bent

on Grandfathers

huddled like old horses

in Chapel basements

can keep her locks from draping

my thrilled skin

 

I felt the linguistics of freedom

without right-wing caveats

and the sophistical footnotes

of kept intellectuals

when Black Power waxed

the center of my tower

and the bottom of your well

farther than this cell

and closer than holding you

in my arms now

 

 

I found the status quo

on endless streets with names

and no names

we neglect or accommodate

 

In a sound dream

on spots

we smother

or straddle

we are a sexual coterie

 

I wanted to indict you for voluntary servitude

buying part and parcel of our own existence

like exploitation bought and exploitation sold

back to the exploitable…

 

With a shameless display

of unnecessary needs and haughty miens

napping, unconscious, and folded

 

Like Black parents

who cannot recognize their children

Hiding inside androgynous clothing

Reciting the lines of criminal poets

perverting language that appeals to them

 

Black Panthers in proletariat-drag

When Heidegger said

The dreadful has already happened!

 

Tell her…

 

Huey

is an effete dilettante

living life inside a penthouse

longing to be outside in the cracker box

raping after he was free

Down with the masses!

Up with the bourgeoisie!

 

Eldridge

came to the Party shouting

“I am a rapist!”

“I [am] a patriarch!”

Power was not concept

abstract or privilege for Eldridge

 

His last contribution

will be the design

of cock pants

 

And Bobby

is a politician

with idealistic intentions

running for the Mayor of Oakland

loyal to the Patriarchs

that bound and gagged him

in the courtroom

 

 

Elaine Brown

confused pussy with power

will deny

Huey beat her down

and ran her out of town

in her red Mercedes Benz…

 

Hide your guns from Jonathan

My brother is poised for Fatalism

Suicidal ideations are necessary considerations

when voluntary death is a blow against

excessive regulations

 

The gun…

is justification

for the enigma

of an absurd existence

when God is dead

like Nietzsche and Sartre said…

and heaven is empty

 

When you see Angela

Give her… this Valentine

 

Your status in the ballroom

on that intellectual runway

does not resemble

the place we found

 

Bring me back from Limbo…

Your breath is shallow

Your pulse is faint

The ring is dark

The tower is steep

The well is deep…

Are you coming too?

 

I am waiting

in this din

pacing the floor in my 9 x 4

in absolute solitude

wanting

you, you, you,

again…

 

Copyright 2004, 2015 E Maria Shelton Speller.  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.