1 The Jew
though the Book was
My portable city, a Yrslm
Moved by me into many cities,
My soul and belly-button have not intersected
At the navel of the earth.
From the yellow-blacknesses of Galicia
I came to know London, New York and—surprisingly—Berlin
Where writers and journalists were Isaiahs about town
i.e. analysts of the present
But I could not cleave to God.
Other syllogisms swayed me. I was for revolution,
One of the spectral
But birth was the flood
From which I couldn’t recover
Even as I thanked England
For putting Darwin on its ten pound note.
Matrimony happened. Children came.
Decades were Polaroid-framed.
I imbibed my own shotglass
Of the Davidic, the Solomonic.
I end. It ends.
The mind is more than this
As a candle is extinguished
By a human breath.
The disappointment was in seeing no angels.
No one had wings!
I was too realistic.
Once, an amazing profile butterflied
And I hung on her tones as on a meathook.
2 The Christian
to look into the cross-shaped hospital is to know myself in Christendom,
The mind of Kierkegaard,
A Black Death map.
Once, we were linked in Catholicity like a television audience.
Today in the conurbations of Christendom we walk
On cement-mixer films above the mass dead,
Media phantoms in a hades of screens,
Fingers blackened by newsprint, ears tinnitused with jingles,
Eyes x-rayed by electricity.
Our hearts have been told too many things.
The Cross has ceded to the Diogenes barrel.
The sky is a mirror-ceiling we study human sex in.
This place was supposed to be left-wing.
Au revoir. My ascension is privatised.
My ascension is privatised. Au revoir.
3 The Marxist
I have run out of materials except for those of the coffin
I must build in an ark-shape to sail into the sun
Where no man may exploit my personality or handicraft
But a lit country, a workshop without hierarchy.
Here, I have always lived underneath money, somehow
As under a sea, working on the sea-floor
Thinking I was on land, looking up
At the passing seaweed, imagining it as cloud
As my lungs and mind were salt-poisoned,
My limbs and heart were pressure-crushed
And my back was dismantled and reassembled, daily.
I saw the Leviathan of history cruise by
Smiling a lees-red smile, a human blood smile.
The sun warms my back as I hammer the wood
Into the belly-shape of a hull to hold
The emotions we earned proudly, not the emotions
Of the dishonest exploiter but the honest exploited.
I have lived in the rich shades of goldmines
And will be weighed as usual on the way out.
4 The Whore
I am the whore of Joseph Salmon
And in the waters of Joseph Salmon
I laid my femininity
Uniting mercers coopers scriveners
Imprinting their auras onto my aura
(Unknown to Mr Salmon, I found a way back into the garden)
Protestant, a traitor to my race
But yet a protestant against
The iced boundaries here
Salting my wound with money, and the wounds of men
With deference and technique
Milking their glands religiously
I have spawned poems as salmon