by Erik Amundsen

In prime and in chief I call you my siblings,
we who suck­led togeth­er at the kind­ness of our mother,
we who sucked and grew fat on her bounty,
fat, and also strong. Hers are the tusks that rend,
hers is the mouth that trails the gut in red ropy streamers,
her claws are those wet with the lives of the fool­ish and vain.
Lis­ten, in prime and in chief,
you who tast­ed of her milk, to the cry of our father.
His breath is the killing blast of the winter,
his heart is the rage of ten thou­sand furnaces,
his bel­ly is full of the light­ning of all storms. Know him,
know him, and listen.
I’ve seen an army of chil­dren formed,
I’ve seen an army of child hands forced to hold,
forced to give hon­or and praise, trained, not well,
giv­en swords, giv­en a vision of a heav­en, a sky
they won’t ever see, nor any one who brings their giv­en piece
their giv­en piece of met­al down.
I call, I cry, and hear me, in prime, lis­ten, in chief,
and raise a voice with me, be it the howl of the pack
of the hun­gri­est wolves or be it the hiss of the basket
that holds the ser­pents. I will take them.
I will take the num­ber, from first to none, with open hand,
slap those weapons to the ground, and those children,
yes, they’ll know my hand, they’ll feel my palm,
but their lead­ers, the ones who made the metal
the ones who, like a father, bent those lit­tle fingers
around the hilt and pom­mel, those men, they will know
my ven­om, tooth and nail. In chief, they will learn,
In prime, they must be made to know,
A moth­er bore each child in that rout, a father should
have taught them how to hold them­selves, as ours did.
Their lead­ers, in chief, cre­ate a hell, light its fire,
they must learn, in prime, should they seek
to send their chil­dren down to fire,
let it be them who come to know the fire.
They who send their chil­dren to the mouth of the glutton,
they know noth­ing of the bel­ly of Moloch.
It is time that they came to understand.
It is time for them to learn.

This is your moment, balanced,
a stood-up jagged piece of glass,
and in a moment, a weapon.

In sec­ond and to my sight I call you, my adversaries;
I see you are in num­bers and those numbers
I am bound, with left hand scald­ed by fires,
right hand run with chilblains; you I will sort
as though I sort­ed apples in two baskets.
To my sight I see you, adver­saries, you men,
you women of oth­er lands and times, and a war
that stands between us. War, but with­out hate,
I break the head off of that spear, I crush it out
and grind the head into the earth and leave it,
as a ser­pent to be tak­en by the scav­eng­ing bird.
You see me, in sec­ond, now, with­out my paint,
no plume, no armor, just my flesh, I come, as you,
came, to my sight, in sec­ond, I offer a hand
and you may strike it, but you must also take it up.
This has gone too long; in my sight,
I see the field piled with us, our coring,
our peels, and the vine­gar stink of us.
If you say the dead tell us to fight,
I say you know noth­ing of the dead, and it’s time
for you to see them for yourself.
Look into my eye; this is not vio­lence, this is truth.
In sec­ond, in my sight, I see the other,
my adver­saries through fail­ure, through betrayal,
those who were giv­en to rule, but let the crown
slip over their eyes, those giv­en to plenty,

who left my sib­lings in hunger and want,
those giv­en to spir­it and chose a spir­it of hate,
those giv­en to strength who picked up that spear,
the one now bro­ken, the one now ground out
in sec­ond, as it should have been in prime,
as it nev­er should have been at all.
You prof­it from this no more. I have spoken
to the bees, and they will deny you their sweet,
I have spo­ken to the hor­nets, and to the wasps,
I have spo­ken to the thorns and now, now
they are thirsty, and the stings will dri­ve you there,
from my sight. Your war is broken,
your pow­er, stolen in sec­ond, stolen, squandered
spent. You gave blood to Gods of War, and now
they are drunk and will not lis­ten when you cry,
and in my sight, you will be as washing,
wind-torn from the line, scat­tered in the thorns,
pierced, and in the sun, in a sec­ond, will you dry.
The butch­er birds will pierce their meals
on the thorns of your rest­ing place.
No one else will know where you have gone.

Every­thing is rel­a­tive in this dark land
this flat­tened plain, vast­ness ahead
fast­ness behind, and there are thorns
and voic­es caught, voic­es tattered.

Every­thing is rel­a­tive in this dark land,
this is not smoke or cloud, it is black,
against a black sky, it has no smell,
but sound. I saw it turn and thunder
toward me in the shape of horses
with light­ning for eyes, lightning
the col­or of salmon flesh. I saw,
this what remained the tow­er fell,
and the sky cleared.
Every­thing is rel­a­tive in this dark land
these are stars that cir­cle our sky,
but they are not our stars. This refrain,
this is the breath between two screams,
this is the rage when it comes in.
Every­thing is rel­a­tive in this dark land,
to know your sins, name them, to name
your sins, you must own them,
the dev­il was weak and cold
lying in the desert, so I picked him up,
he was my dev­il, and now, now
he is still my dev­il, I might nev­er be his
nev­er again, but our sins, we share,
we share them all in common,
and every­thing is rel­a­tive in this dark land.

This is the end, as the tow­er falls â€¨
the smoke will clear,

lights in the skies we took as star

reveal them­selves as Gods. 

In final and in clos­ing I call you unnamed, you

invisible, voice­less, those lost in the sea,

lost in the echo that trans­mits in sound­less space, 

you yet to be, chil­dren and dead, unbe­got­ten. â€¨
The wind will press down upon the fields 

and the grass­es sway, and the things come down, â€¨
we have no name, they are great, like clouds,

terrible like storms and their jus­tice is ter­ri­ble â€¨
in closing. Calami­ty, cat­a­stro­phe, the bad star, â€¨
now fall­en, will gath­er the evil that brought it up, â€¨
gath­er as fish at the weirs, caught, gasp­ing, â€¨
in final. I call noth­ing to crash in where some­thing â€¨
had been wrong, the sur­geon heals, 

in clos­ing the wound made by the surgeon’s hand. â€¨
All the things that have been tak­en and lost, â€¨
all those in final places, those names not remem­bered, 

those faces nev­er again seen, they gath­er â€¨
and in clos­ing, they witness. Wit­ness this, â€¨
I cry out, in final, the place where stones only lis­ten. â€¨
Before the final leaf falls to the ground, 

before the con­flict grows so fool­ish that the world,

that the peo­ple die of shame, clos­ing up the book â€¨
of this world, these lives, with more than halfʉ۬
of its pages blank. These stars are not our stars, 

this world is not our world to destroy,

and from sui­cide, in final, are we for­bid­den. â€¨
This is my curse unto you: you who would be the last,ʉ۬
you who would burn the world for a moment aloneʉ۬
with a destruc­tion you call God, I curse you to live,

live and regret. Live and feel shame, and be known,

be known by the unknown for the things you have done,

those who have no voice and no sight, I call you,ʉ۬
use my eyes, use my mouth, speak with me.ʉ۬
Life, then, it is for you all to live in the shapes

of the scorn of all of us, you fools, you con­querors, 

you would-be destroyers. You will bleed a river

bleed your own blood, enough to fill the ocean,

and nev­er do your veins run dry, you are despi­ca­ble, â€¨
and you will live to be despised. Calamity.

Catastrophe. In final and in clos­ing, I curse you â€¨
with inconsequence. The world tak­en from you,

the world like a toy, that you spoiled child, madeʉ۬
of it, in clos­ing and in final, once and for all. â€¨
We make a place for you among the friend­less, â€¨
and though I am filthy as well, you who prof­it, â€¨
you will be known as filth­i­er still. My hate dies â€¨
as you live, as your dreams are yanked, 

like the reins of the cart from the dri­ver, a fool,

and passed into the hands of those whose faces, 

you have for­got­ten, and con­demned to invis­i­bil­i­ty, â€¨
they will rule your fate for now, in final, in closing,

in this world, with­out an end.

So be it.

Tak­en broad­ly, Erik Amund­sen has had an inter­est­ing life; he’s been a bak­er, an itin­er­ant school­teacher, worked for two gov­ern­ments and got­ten in bar fights overseas.  He now lives at the foot of a ceme­tery in cen­tral Con­necti­cut where he writes nasty lit­tle sto­ries and poems that shuf­fle around in the night when he’s not looking. Or at least he hopes it’s them; something’s got to be mak­ing those nois­es and it’s not the furnace.

One Response to "Desfixion"

  • Mag­nif­i­cent.

    1 Asakiyume said this (April 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm)