An Odd Thought That I Entertained While Driving to Work
Along the Peaceful Highway
I feel beneath my whirling wheels
the stuff of righteous dinosaurs.
A trillion strong, and laced with diatoms;
They waded into bogs and pitch
lip to hip, thick on thick:
Sun burning down on a cold-blooded cake -- black crude;
There is about this place, the perfume of life
sprinkled on the Coliseum floor.
We are roses, rooted in the catacombs
We are restaurateurs, dining on a layer cake of death.
Death in my engine
Death under tire,
Death ever passing down my throat.
How can I begin to celebrate the cost --
of all this post-life, living in
or under me.
my gasoline and street:
(fossil fuel derived)
-- I rev a Rex, or run
Eoraptors out the pipes,
Even as I steel down roads of rotted clams.
I cite the sod,
the dirt made living at the cost of trees and worms and germs
and millennia of dead stuff, folded back
into the humus of
I cite the corn, rising on the broken cobs of yesteryear,
I cite the barns, the chicken coops and mills…This strange,
STRANGE industry of death.
I cite myself, alive at the end of the slaughter.
Some of you will say
We shouldn't do it …
No butcher blocks or Burger Kings,
Chicken soup or Jimmy-Deans for any noble soul!”
I drop my jaw, finger an incisor,
and go packing with the wolves.
Come with me and part the baleen of the whale,
unmask the krilling fields, or…(If we really must)
Pull a microscope and shudder
at the carnage in a drop.
with telescope survey
the battle ground:
camouflage and sting,
exploding hooves-- the roar,…
the slash and
tooth and fang
of this our warring planet.
(Vegan, if you will, appeal to God - but never nature
For your thoughts)
Then .. (as if to aid my troubled mind)
He cuts the lamb.
Robes my nakedness in sacrificial skin.
Cooks the fish, says “Come and dine."
Will I scorn his gifts? Or rather,
Celebrate the present
Even as I wait
the finish of this bloody dispensation.
Let me celebrate
The dead and dying saints
Let me count the cost (in calcium)
Of this unrivaled freedom;
shadowed in the monoliths of Arlington;
I feel their blood on distant shores
Pooled like oil pools, buttressing
the borders our somewhat civil government;
I feel the clean bright air, purified on beaches
in Normandy and Nam.
I feel my freedom, twined with Billy clubs
and those who caught the bullets, that might have been mine
I shift, and feel my ease, riding on the backs of slaves,
Confederates and Yankees
Yanks and tanks and the seared Japanese,
Chinese building railroads for dirt wages,
And all those communal-doves
Shot down by Lenin.
I need not be assigned with the victors to win,
I find my bounty, like a castle built
On a mound of horror,
stupidity and error, bravery and love,
tragedy, and triumph,
the willingness to let blood flow.
Speaking of horrendous:
I see the incarnate Jesus
(in the meat), riding through this funnel with us --
The corpse of God lifted high:
I see his drained and lifeless limbs,
the bruised obscenity
I see, The
Death of Life.
And Now …
I feel another heart pounding over mine,
the light of resurrection shining through my eyes.
I know that my Redeemer lives;
and I will find my life
Inside of His.
This grand mountain of death.