Babylon the Great

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Written Memorial Day 2012

Wonderland smoke dims suicide fireflies under a Cheshire moon

mocking guerrilla teenagers

and confused tongues cry over dirty water dialogue

as crude hands sift gold from Babel sand

cutting orphan blood lines like teenage wrists

with eyes gouged from prophets

leaving a culture blind,

burning like Bronx tenements

in Sultanates looted for stale flat-bread

while fallen minarets replace dynasties of honey and milk

with multinational cholera and patent medicine,

clipping wings of human headed lions

holding receipts for chemicals and 80’s handshakes,

forgotten like the sixth commandment,

stockpiling sanctions followed by liberation

and a flying carpet exodus of Dresden dolls

to genie wishes and refugee camps

But God is on our side

and damage collateral,

Engagement rules in pencil

excuse slaughterhouse diplomacy

as a mail call respite

brings February-stale Christmas cookies,

erasing date palms along riverbanks,

playing chicken and zigzagging pale horses

and donkey carts

speeding across London bridges

where all of Prince’s men sound trumpets

and drop silver coins to the boy scouts below

who are left American Spirited

with Red Bull wings

kicking starving dogs for the bite,

ten feet tall and bulletin ready

on a children’s crusade with depleted uranium dreams

summoning leukemia and esoteric nightmares

of nostril hair singed from burning trash, and flesh,

and exhaled chain-smoke rings

rising to the heavens

conjure misplaced courage

and distant memories of church incense

with singing belfries confessing hate

for a condemned man’s call to prayer

in the mother-tongue of a displaced people

cursing god while birth-defected babies cry

from splintered hospital cribs

and distant heroes overdose on anxious shelter beds

hardly fools’ mated,

sham sacrificed for democracy

with elders crying over spilled youth in fertile lands

Isaac joins Ishmael

In a suicide portal to a ninth circle

where dead GI’s break bread with Mahdi militiamen,

small-talking gunship politics over rocket-propelled diplomacy

and as 18 a day fall through the portal,

an 18 year old raises his right hand to get out of the projects;

and an 18 year old raises her right hand to get off the farm

but her body gets violated by her brothers

like the human rights of those their army occupies,

and orphan from that land raises an rpg

because he is the man of the house now

after his father, mother and sister were mistaken for angry armed men

and sent packing to the paradise of a heathen god…

and from east and west they head down a silk road

flooded by generations of blood

at the crossroads where souls are sold for opium

and the blues are drown out by Kalashnikov symphonies

echoing canyon casualties from days of Alexander and Genghis

in a valley of death filled with soviet skeletons

and cave hopping clerics bulls-eyed for smart bombs

that level villages, stealing breath from sandaled civilians

vacant from front pages and nightly news tears,

like those in the cat’s cradle of civilization,

overcome by chariots of fire

in a land drained of its milk and honey

as Wormwood cracks the hourglass

and crude covered sand mixes with blood

to poison Abrahamic rivers,

and a nearby dove chokes on an olive pit,

as I wash down shawarma and Xanax

with piss-warm PBR

the hair of the dog

and breakfast of champions,

I’m too much a coward to write my conclusion,

my dreams haunted with broken records,

‘So it goes…’

And I’ve taken a liking to the woman

who answers the phone at the Suicide hotline

from time to time

when I call, drunk and alone

and talk for hours before I realize

I’m not holding a phone but a Beretta

that i got from that commie bastard Johnny,

when Hemingway interrupts with a laugh and invites me fishing

but I hate cats and I can’t find my skeleton key

and I’m bored all the time with the hotline chick on my mind saying ‘do it’.

But I don’t, and I reply ‘I love you’ because she pretends to care…sometimes.

then I ask the ghost of Norman Rockwell to paint me back

to a time when war was just a game

that my brother and I played with sticks and stones

but wound up breaking the bones of the kid next door,

and come to find out, his mother was the maid my old man made a mother

showing me the blood I never knew until I came unglued

hearing her screams drown out

the reoccurring American dream of standing tall and pledging allegiance ,

because we thought we were the good guys

And dreaming of nine to five,

a yellow lab and a picket fence,

A boat, a pet goat, and a coat of arms tattooed on my chest

But now I’ll burn the family crest along with the flag and a cross

and scream fuck you at the top of my lungs,

not hallelujah come Sunday…

I’m sick of more Butter Battles, leaving me morning Abel

After wikileak cables catch the congressman blowing Cain for monopoly money

It ain’t funny how times slipping now

Rockwellian days are over

And I know where I belong,

so I plan my swansong dive into my nirvana exit, stage left

will you be my Juliet,

as I await homeward bound chickens,

out pickin’ flowers to lay on my unmarked grave

Tomb of the unknown, dead from a peace drone,

Try to mimic Rome but can’t lick this one last shot

To meet my maggots and return to dust

With angles hovering above a table of Kennedy’s

Contemplating blowing the back of Ted’s head off

just to save Camelot’s face

So I decide to hang with Judas, end the race

you can keep the silver

But at my last supper

I’m quenched with a bottle labeled

“DRINK ME” brought out by the  lady whose eyes’

have long been seared into my mind

And piss drunk now on bastard’s blood

I slip from the noose and land on a Lowell street corner

smoking apple mint hookah

Begging for change enough to buy one

two

three cups of  tea,

blacker than my heart, and in my dreams,

i’m drowning like the children of the middle passage

so I adjust my birth control glasses

and tear the pages out

so I can fill them with long lost passages

translated from Arabic

and Pashto

to show America these cultures we’re downsizing.

to show America what Corporal Tillman realized

before he was tackled by Cardinals…

to show America that these people are human beings

and equal

and it’s all a façade

painted in blood, oil, and sod

grown from the eagle shit of jingoist Ivy League graduates

to give working class heroes hope

and spare change for state college credentials…

and some shackles to cultivate recovery

But that lie gets chipped away

with 18 portal trips a day

as mantles get redecorated

with tearstained flags

and Dear John’s to suboxne joints

filling boxes  while the Whore of Babylon

puts on her red, white, and blue

panties and scandalously lights a Lucky Strike

and sips blood from her chalice

as Uncle Sam sneaks out the back door

and hops on his stolen bike,

on his way to join with congress

as they get high and rape lady liberty

until crude oil oozes out from her crown.

And she goes up in flames,

with billowing smoke the backdrop

resembling a dark day years ago

when I chose to join Johnny,

but I start to run for my life now, trapped in this quicksand dream again

when my ears stop ringing and in the distance,

I hear the dying dove exhale one last time,

‘Poo-tee-weet?’

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