Revelation

Marilyn Buck

[This poem is read on the CD by David Meltzer. MP3 of this poem]

This is a time when the world seeks revelation.
Too many seek that which is not but illusion or reassurance;
those who thirst for visions drink hallucinations.

the future perfect tense belongs to charlatans; pied pipers
lead the future into deceptions poisoned seas.
          cataclysms, punishments, hell, damnation,
          all mirages of souls in anguish
          salvation for the elect: they fear
          themselves and the echoes of mountain tombs.

Do you see demons and desolation, hear sounds
of screams, wailing? Or smell sulfur burn
behind your tongue – a taste of wormwood
and aloes? Or encounter the touch as a torch upon the skin?
          You imagine fire but it might be ice.

Hounds of hell,
horse’s pounding hooves are ancient;
they tread through all the tales.

          Children who do not ripen on the vine cling and hide
beneath the bitter leaves, composting hatred of the world:
          their ear is stopped to the sweet sounds of Ascension
blown by Tranes of quotidian toilers, artists of the ordinary;
          their eye shuts before the flesh of their own desire,
they name it decadence – hell for defiant revelers;
          they singe the air with sanctimony and light bonfires beneath
the feet of non-conformity (flaming lovers deserts for mordant palates)
          demons race upon their tongue, salty
toads, ready to leap into hyssop-broomed allegories.
          They reproach those who dare lay among the lilies of the field.

Do you see the light that flirts on willow leaves
fallen in the stream? Do you hear the universe
sounding in a Robeson basso tremor? Or smell
the fragrance of the unsought kiss? Or cry
when the moon washes silken on your skin?
Do you taste dandelions dressed in orange and olive’s coat?

For you, no religious processionals
apocalypse no final reckoning:
          the day discovers itself, opens opal prospects,
          sweat drops from the brow, a stream mysterious unto itself.
                    red is vermilion, green is emerald
                    commingled dissolution
                    into mud, the prism flawed by the acid mire
                    of doomsday incantations.

All you do not know is of a different globe.
Rejoice! You will not go there; you circle not that realm.

Ignore false prophets, find mysteries for yourself
apocalyptic chanters sing sadomasochistic
fantasies for those who live on surfaces and beg for fancy trinkets
fanciful proof of perfect spirit.

Calamity follows the radiant day:
would you know stillness without the roiling of the seas?

You shall glimpse that you do not know
in the sound of the cedars in the night
and children weeping; in the smell of the rain
and taste of drought, in the breath of longing
upon your breast, and in the sight of bodies
strewn across ravished landscapes.

Do not be blind to the longitudes of the world:
embrace the latitudes and all they offer
          disown fear to live tomorrow.

Seek not revelations, all is revealed.
Listen to each word, a world in orbit;
each phrase, a nova: essay the beach,
each grain of sand, a poem

                    do not sit idle, your path streams before you.
                    bank the raging fires and light laurel branches against the cold

May 2002


poems © the authors
compilation © The Freedom Archives