What’s worth forgetting is last year’s
Incarnation. For instance, starve--
Don’t eat those Rand-McNally maps
From Babylon. Instead, carve
New gulleys. Then there’s the river of fire.
It burned all your laundry. When you forget
Everything old, you will hear
The future on a clarinet.
I’m not a kangaroo who flings
Himself across the outback. How
Deeply does he reflect? Maybe
I’m a nut on the bough.
The nut contains knowledge of
The sap and roots and soil. The tree
Is tall, from Arcturus you can see
A fraction of its canopy.
Sometimes, it helps to read a book
And chase the dog out of the yard.
Moses himself is buried where
The polluted stream under the scarred
Ground flows. The polluted mountain
Puffs itself up, but not the mind,
Not the tendrils that descend
In the dusk. Your eyes are blind
Until you remove the suppuration,
“I will send away the northern foe,
To a land that is dry and desolate,
Where his stench and his infection flow.”
Elijah said: “Turn to God,
Or turn to see that what you call god
Is the foul stream itself.” And the people
Looked beneath the clean facade.
The fake nice guy, he’s got a picture
Of Gary Cooper on his wall.
He says he’s him. And the guy who gives
But wants to be given, straight and tall
But shakes up his children, who worships at
A crumbling temple of himself.
From himself, he sees himself,
From the liquor to the shelf
Of bread. Once, it got so bad,
He was so sick of himself, that he died--
That’s how it felt—it felt good.
It was silence amplified.
Yaacov David Shulman