Pulling the Temple Down
Grapes fruit prolifically,
distended fleshy globes whose seeds
will never quicken. Air above a desert,
tendrils curl before they fall still
aware of bitter failure.
Listen: like fowl and fish,
no life can spring from this.
We rush away from each other
not waiting to ripen; the flush
of our first bloom frenetic. The inevitable end
falls so softly our minds deny the ugliness
of loss as it touches our lips
brushes by like heavy morning dew.
Cowards who choose a late stand
we tiptoe behind someone else’s mask,
solitary prisoners who follow the queen
in Cuzco’s altar carvings.
The god is nothing like before. Quick death
bothers him. Fall means slow extinction;
from the first he knows himself, plays to
that eternal gallery of ever-changing stars.
The wheel turns to our 15 minute fame
then Bau grows morose
and dances us to shadowed pools.
I’ve danced with someone like her.
Wrapped in shining steps, I floated
in slow water.
I won’t pretend acceptance;
to be dead, to be old, with everything
behind me. I sit at the feet of my past,
remember Samson, how he lost
everything in the end, and nothing.
Villainous heroes, mountains of arctic ice
monsters that calve in the mind;
love will always betray.
Was he really a villain, even to you?
Couldn’t it end there?
But listen –
he let go and gathered them all in,
submitted and died. If you built altars
it was before he imploded blind
on the print of your life, from the frantic cosmos
which judges submission and failure.
As you drove him through the temple
each head that turned tugged him
down and under until, defiant
he leapt to the head of the line.