Monday, January 17, 2011

Healing With Disease


Knobby and rounded
the bones of his shoulders show,
pointed up, reaching skyward
exultation under weathered skin.

Arms fully extended
he continually dips his cupped hands in the water
long narrow fingers forming a diamond

then separates his palms
trap-door release
(surprising the water
who had planned to trickle out slowly
nearly imperceptibly)
and a million jewels shatter to the river
returning to her continual pulsing flow

He seems to be somewhere else
eyes contentedly shut
seemingly unaware
as the water breaks and falls
again and again through his hands

A younger man
further down
(browned broad shoulders
shining with water
pointed outwards
seizing presence, commanding)
is chest deep
throwing his arms out at the elbow
and pulling water in
up over his face
down his eyes
tracing the patterns of his lips
as he prays
cleansing and rhythmic


The low hum of a projector
buzzes familiar
and the warm dust specks
illuminated by the white light
waltz before glaringly red text
font size 72

mug shot of the Ganges
she’s greenbrown with disease, human waste, pollution
looking sickly and vile
the horror, the horror

oh, that’s just uncalled for
pictures she’d hoped
would never be shared in polite company
a dead cat floats by, bloated belly up
while the sewage sinks to the bottom
my darling, you’re a wretch
sorry and stinking and putrid

like a gun clicking through its chamber
searching for the bullet(point)
to really hit home
and with a deafening crack(click)
we’ve found it
stark silence, sorrowful and sweet
as a man’s image is flashed across the screen
with knobby rounded shoulders
the bones pointing up to the sky
holiest of horrors, healing with disease
purifying his soul with filth
washing away his sins with excrement
he is finally clean

Uncle Sam
he knows better
he would laugh at the absurdity
if that weren’t so uncouth

and he shakes his head
and puts his hand warmly
on the back of the neck of the televangelist
whose open mouth spews flecks of hot spit,
(this being among the less revolting things
to come from that tongue)
as he covers sinners eyes with his hands
and runs his fingers over their praying lips
Cured! Pure!
They are finally clean
Thank god

And when ye pray,
ye shall not be as the hypocrites:
for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues
and in the corners of the streets,
that they may be seen of men

Uncle, Uncle
turn off your engine and stay awhile
See there, the glacial glow
watch that glacier go
she’s melting from your hell-fires
Uncle, Oh uncle
raping the sweetness from the land
Don't try and cover my eyes with your filthy hands

my dear sweet Ganges!
I thought I heard Philomel's cry
guttural and raw
echoing from the himalayas
She's doubled over
dying, drying

but watch!
With the glacier's last gasp
and in Ganges croaking final hour
See now, how clean the water flows
rushing down
it’s fresh as an altar boy
clean as a Sunday
holy, holy
purified, at last

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