Art as Cure, Pomegranate as Grenade

Poets are damned but they are not blind, they see with the eyes of the angels.


You who live in the conclusion of it,
attuned to bruising pale pages,
punching out pixel-toothed smiles, with dusky
images obscuring the world
with words, affectation & hyperbole
effacing this fading planet
in whose place only tears mixed with ashes
ink phantom grace, paint extinguished
memory with such disastrous panic,
& with such haste, as that you hazard
to give, lying with waste, you harlot-holed
heady masters and mistresses
of history’s ill-fated minor schools
squatting unashamed over bowls


of incense flame fatigue away crippling
innocence’s promotional
stills, impart your tired indelicate hearts’
alternate interpretations
of love’s earth-quaking partings in case this
regenerative energy
dissipates & an ignorance of mistakes
makes feel longer than it should take
all anticipation of that final
judgment day you have to await
before those feigned prayers you pray begin to
petition your hare-brained patience
and imitate what they’re meant to allay,
seeking in more unsavoury


sayings a truant saviour to persuade,
to convince, to articulate,
to convey, an excommunication
of demons eating away from
within, not with fists but language pleasing
to one whose mouth the silence of
yours tongues open just wide enough to fire
forth a fighting sigh of breath so
cacophonous too soon before its long
overdue meaning eludes no
more the allusive pain your whole life you’ve
been so consumed by describing,
likening living to a wild concert
without an audience, a shout


in the midst of an abyss, a pithy
defiance of hits, orchestral
violence choreographing into
bold eternal monumental
poses those dents in their candour of those
cerebral papal fathers whose
patriarchal power which we all pay
for they won’t even bother to
ever dishonour bowing down to an
artist, calling on costumed guards
and uniformed officers to collect
debts they call and clothe you clones in,
saying you can’t or they’ll cancel your soul’s
patronage, oh-so-willing to


go along with its myth, militant in
winning, if not them, then the game
you play over & over, masquerading
as moguls you hope your writing’s
foul resistance against convention will
evidence strength instead of real
weakness, that no other talent or more
of it could fill whole another’s
emptiness the way your love for this does,
even still, if any chance of
survival revives all offed denial,
then no need to scribble or rhyme
ever existed in the first place, friends,
expressed best without conceit, this


is no contest, you can’t cheat or erase
what you’ve won by experience,
wake up from its burn’s worst-formed recurring
occurrences, even once spurned,
jettisoned feelings return again in
those ego-wounding moments of
overzealous ordeal, going from healed
to blown open, it’s worth more than
noting, indeed learning well now, that one
secret your heroes never tell,
no matter how revealing what they sell,
it’s no use for us at all to
keep concealing what art approaches but
never nears: the work’s completion.

Notate Bene:
☞ The title of the poem is derived from May Swenson’s review of Anne Sexton’s The Book of Folly and Robin Morgan’s Monster, in Section BR of The New York Times Book Review of November 19, 1972; page 7.
1William Carlos Williams, “Howl for Carl Solomon”, introduction to Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg, published at San Francisco by City Lights Books in 1959; page 8.