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

 

 

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