Fire in the Age of Lightning


A tiger’s tongue of naked flame
     chastens to virginal brightness
     an intellect whose timelessness
     recollects no one but itself,

a mind’s spirit unchained by wind
     burning from inside lips the night
     writhes toward, veiling courage blind
     with lines of verse nature spits forth,

as if either warm ink or slurred
     molasses sugared worse news poured
     out from fate’s unfortunate purse
     while turning over coins she births,

burdensome beasts of troublesome
     words forests bend to avert, strummed
     lyres silenced by their thirst, silver
     transmuted to silk by her tongue,

licking to molten submission
     an indifference of atoms
     even the elements cannot
     fathom as in one collision,


a renegade bolt of lightning
     takes from them their weight, crawling air
     as it falls like sin dropped onto
     innocent men whose hands fail gods,

fists painting equations instead
     of praying, this when they should be
     ashamed just for straying from its
     path, the sky’s hidden math dripping,

drowning conscience with consciousness
     of what lies beyond midnight’s black
     velvet, a portrait emerging
     of a king its bullet strikes dead,

that tigress horizons widen
     to let in, heavens of thighs spread
     as she splinters minds, her knife’s fire
     winter’s breath chilling ignorance,

brows broadened as her bite breaks heads
     like boughs under the groan of snow
     her tongue vanquishes, for by this
     whip’s lashes, it’s wisdom she gives,


scourging to red earth a world whose
     haste to automate makes of clay
     worthless works, vague imitations
     of their first version’s failed system,

a primitive herd returning
     to its base origin, dirt worms
     know not to burrow in since flesh
     brings about its obsolescence,

automatons making of life
     what takes it away, so with white
     tine her jaws divide and say what
     forks the royal road mortals stride,

her lightning the lighter fluid
     chewing through arteries stone hearts
     are unable to intuit—
     the fatal flaw built into it,

hers is that lone gift these human
     conduits of bullshit cannot
     process or return or refine
     or duplicate or rewind, no,


the Promethean privilege
     proves useful to man exclusive
     of buying time, denying its
     purchase for defying knowledge,

eternity’s taste punitive
     rather than nutritive to fools
     whose pursuit of it pierced through truth’s
     bones a needle only now dropped,

a hot shot of a single dart
     she sparks with all the fierce swiftness
     of a funeral song, a soul’s
     embers shrieking to release them,

to teach them each to believe in
     something other than mere machines
     since information purloined by
     highway robbery feeds no one,

without understanding, hunger
     keeps growing until heat thunders
     from out of nowhere and bleeds from
     gunmen what numbs them to their fears,


what dares them turn to violence,
     what keeps them from realizing
     they are alone and that no one’s
     shadow can outrun an eclipse,

this finger of light even thieves
     touch when an idea moves from
     the head to the heart, no nobler
     part to play than that of artist,

indeed, it’s the Duchampian
     conceit that his prerogative
     is to choose any object and
     decide that it must be art, yes,

lest moons and other satellites
     glow independent and forthright
     with brightness irreverent and
     their own, so she throws what ignites,

humbling with feverish caress
     aspirations too soon consumed
     by a darkness unenlightened
     gluttons mistake for Eden’s fruit.