In this contorted frame, badger-like scurrying,
Scrabbling for prey, in the midst of fratricidal disputes-
The dead lingering like ruptured sores-
The dead dripping like candy from Christmas trees,
Our lives meandering, our thoughts remain.
In this dry season drunken men walk like dragons
Scales roaring with white flame:
Fangs like industrial weapons
Formed into one ghastly metaphor, belching shells from darkened trenches
Beating out wafer-thin souls in Basra.
Here Hell soared like a Heaven of scimitars and virgins; angry youths
In Tennessee praying savagely to a dead god-
Lost limbs their accumulated homage
Laid on the altars with terrifying grief.
In the deserts the sun sinks more rapidly, or appears to,
In the deserts wars leave permanent evidence,
Carbonised debris, skeletonised trucks, gutted tanks with flaring giblets;
In the deserts wars are rarely tidied away.
The only thing to rot is flesh.
The street in which they live is regularly cleaned,
Dustbins are emptied once a week. No one there
Hears the rumbling in the basements,
The cold sound of torture puncturing existence,
The fleeting sound of knives sharpening on blunt throats,
Children laughing in back gardens
Bullets whistling through winter weather,
The incoherent dragon feasting on rats.
The postman never calls. He gave up this route
A year ago, fed up of walking in shadows
Dripping with slime. Now, the doorbells chime,
But no one is there.
No one answers.
Tuesday morning an archangel called. No one was home.
He left a card waggling his wings
In frustration. Oh, how the archangel missed god,
Dumped here among the heathen
In an urban utopia-wanting so much to die.
The beatitudes of heaven, of choirs, of clouds, of shame,
Closed to him for infinity,
God rapping his pure finger-tips on celestial glass coloured
Green and blue, resembling his third best creation.
The archangel, like all his kind, had grown bored
And had taken to drugs
To alleviate the perpetual drone of eternity,
Committing genocide occasionally to relieve his despair,
Seducing women when that paled
Creating new religions, once every five hundred years,
When feeling particularly wicked.
Like god, he did not know how to die.
Around god’s head the angels flew
Searching for nits. Swatting them with his
Infinite, multi-coloured hand
They flew through the darkening universe
Smashed through the earth,
Ending up at the nuclear core searching endlessly for Hell,
While their ominous creator
Smiled. They’d never clocked his humour
After a billion years. Everything he did,
He did in jest.