• Moses (Part 6)


    from last week . . .
    content as wordless kind in their finished image,
    they were soon reconciled to the perfect angles of their own dead faces.
    shuttered from the clear dawn in their pure house of death
    they became the trophies with the stars embalmed
    of their own vain triumphs. and when the nile
    no longer traced in their blood her eternal course,
    when they had forgotten what it meant to be a naked bark,
    naked will astride like rider on his horse,
    rider of fire who undulates to the temper of the storm,
    she skipped their arid veins and in a final circle,
    drowned with them in the granite stream of their innocuous blood.
    the brutal tongue of the lash had atrophied
    into the thin harsh cord of tyranny,
    for denying with every stroke the bitter pride,
    invincible glimmer of the absolute flashing
    undaunted in the other’s eyes. intent on reducing
    the other to the beast, he did not know the trap he had set for himself!
    wounding the other’s eyes to deny his soul
    the other looked back and defeated him
    with the image of his own defeat.
    it is time for the poor and oppressed,
    sword in hand, and lightning in his heart,
    to arise and inherit the earth. with his hands, rough
    and luminous for keeping the deepest truths of man,
    he dug the milleniums in the guts of the earth,
    reaching like sure roots to her deep hoard of light.
    he knew in his entrails the patience of the tree,
    splitting the granite to make way for a leaf,
    a twig of green song for the sun to perch,
    a branch for the pure wind, a crown of miracles,
    the stillness of pure light in the fruit, the seed,
    a century’s silence in a deep brown ring,
    crested with the music of birds.
    he clambered on the breasts of the earth.
    he kissed her large green eyes, he tumbled on her grace,
    while the master hugged close his dead loins to himself.
    it is he who knows the earth in her endlessness.
    her womb, her genitals, her sweet broad face, her arms, her hair,
    the myriad tributaries of her ageless grace:
    limitless geography of his diamond will,
    she is the grindstone of his infinite word,
    she is the threshing floor of his unending hope,
    she is the face of his hand. once betrothed to the loins of kings,
    the nile submits to him like a quivering bride
    while the master sleeps in his dry clean bed
    as the whore awaits in his bath. condemned
    to intercede between him and the rain,
    it is he who knew the deepest founts of loving;
    for what heart is there that deeply loves
    that knew not what it meant to be alone and naked
    when the sky is sad and the trees are sobbing
    and the earth is wet with her tears? and the master?
    what he knew of sadness is a bottled thing.
    what he knew of loving is a crumb for vultures,
    attested by no other self. condemned to lavish his freedom
    in her arduous breast, denied in the other in the mirroring eye,
    submitting his desires to the other’s will,
    the slave dreamt on his unending dream,
    and found himself affirmed in the eyes of the earth,
    and found himself fulfilled in the fruits of the soil,
    and found his will solid and broader than the stone;
    he found his heart strong, patient as the aeons,
    and left for the master the trimmings of his soul—dead
    fruits, dead flowers, chairs for burial, beds for dead
    caresses, things he worked upon and drained
    of their secret infinities, served in platters of gold and silver
    engraved by the acid of his profound contempt
    with rebellious design, with petrified faces
    of inutile masters and putrefying gods.
    the workman is ready to explode
    in the volcanic fury of his pride.
    the workman has reversed in his soul
    the scales that measure the humanity of man.
    the master is dead for devouring dead things,
    the master is dead in his eyes.
    it is for the oppressed to mount the podium
    unsheath the eager sword, unbolt the tongue,
    to tell the masters to their bloated faces
    in letters of their blood crawling on the ground
    the deeper meaning of man. dead men have no business
    ordering the souls of the living. let the living man, the workman,
    hammer and sickle truth into the laws of man.
    an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,
    the lord is infinite and before his gaze,
    no soul is greater than another soul.
    an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, the master is dead in his house of death,
    let the slave rouse him with the edge of the sword. an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,
    let this be the justice of man to man. an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,
    the tyrant must pay the people in kind. he shall be bloodless as the glass,
    he shall be poorer than the rat, he shall be starved as bare white bones,
    he shall be loveless as a curse. his name shall shame him as the worm’s
    he shall be killed a thousand times, a hundred thousand,a thousand thousand times.
    an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth, let this be the justice of slave to master.
    he who builds houses must live in the best house,
    he who carves and hews the stone must own the palace.
    he who tills the soil must own the land.
    he who sows the seed must own the harvest.
    he who toils that others may eat must eat the best.
    the lord is infinite and before his gaze
    no man is greater than another man.
    an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,
    let those who deny bread to others starve,
    let those who deny life to others die,
    let those who deny freedom be cast into dungeons,
    let those who deny man be eaten by worms,
    let this be the measure between man and man,
    let those who deny it know the anger of beasts.


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