When the sky turns Christ on you, the wind bleeds
a saint’s knees, here’s no earth two feet can walk.
There’s that light on the road to Damascus
for you. Paul’s new shill. Slavery gone to seed
though he knows he can put experience
to good use, or rather ill. The rain falls
alike on your sweet, your pernicious talk.
They had been sitting on the balcony
talking, drinking the wine of Rapallo.
One of them would die with Hitler’s rise,
his friend when Vietnam began to end.
It was ten years after the armistice
of gas, barbed wire, brother against brother.
That had been called the war to end all war.
They discussed poetry as tragedy.
The self and its other. Opposition,
Blake said, is true friendship. Who believed it?
Phantoms inhabited the marketplace
below. There was no going back. Hate thrived.
Though they hung Mussolini upside down,
the people went on starving one by one.
Nothing can happen. The stars have no light
left over. There is no resurrection.
Every country has its own soul’s passage
carved in the origins of mortal speech.
There is no hope even if there are words
that mean what it is to die without hope.
There is only this commerce between us.
(11 January 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander