Seven Deadly Sins
Sadness, sloth of ages, eats away
at the hinges of the human soul
each Friday when the will rots
down to almost nothing and
fear gives way to apathetic
indolence or even insolence!
Insufficient love, the blue hymn
of the Inca dove, the snake pit
gall bladder goat song
of the squeamish or faint
of heart. Those, uh, Gulf War
military men who turned
into spineless politicians
of poor caliber, unable to act
or even argue in the desert-
heavy drowsiness of sleep.
The Northeast power grid is down as darkness falls
tonight in Ottawa, New York City, and Detroit.
Not on the Brooklyn Bridge
under an August, blackout moon.
For there's no looting on the boulevards
where a bird smacks a windowpane,
falls at the foot of a man inside, who's doused
in Dead Sea smelling salts and jasmine.
It's Greed's doorway--the guy inside,
the leader of a shadow government,
dreams cigars and Black Sea caviar,
white Wyoming wine, Halliburton perks
and flying bread-and-butter. Palm oil, hair
pomade, pomegranate love. And he takes
whatever he touches with his Midas fingertips,
the bent and crippled children of the marshes
of the Tigris, all of them turned to gold and chocolate.
O green-eyed monster, who mocks
the meat it feeds upon: can't you
try a little love and kindness? I
have seen what envy's wrought:
big nations brought to their knees
by wheedling sycophants. Two
ships lost at sea and I watched
with glee from one, a tanker
called Condoleezza Rice, as a
poodle thrashed in icy waters off
the Azores, in an undulating mass
of hockey gloves as the cargo ship
went down, its unluck my only joy.
For I spy a Spanish compass--just
some of the flotsam floating down
the coast to Cuba, to greener grass.
A foggy mist has covered all the
land, where skulls and bones lay
scattered in the dust, Texas White
House burning, all good deeds undone,
America wakes to its own infamy,
the devastation of the cypress of
Chapultepec. Full of road rage, his
spleen spitting black tobacco juice,
Wrath stands blinking in the dark.
You know he has no government of
his hands or tongue, pale ash
angel of the Apocalypse, a blush
of coral on his skin--he seethes fat
onto the fires of Francis of Assisi,
he can't unpack the words that patience
needs to properly entomb the dead.
Instead, against a door he bangs his head.
Gluttony is government land grab,
gun money, galaxies, Goethe's Faust
and Hamlet's ghost. Golan Heights,
goose grease, gooseberry pie,
Greta Garbo, Galapagos and groats,
G.D. Searle Pharmaceuticals gone
for the gravy train. Golden thighs,
Graceland, Quatar, Gulf of Aqaba,
green mayonnaise, Great Dismal Swamp,
gib cat, gallowglass, guillotine gift horse
and Giotto's rose, Goya's Disasters of War,
Gog, Magog, and Flibbertigibit. Guinea,
Gelsenkirchen, Ivory Coast, the glutton
sweats beads of vodka, drools gelatin
Charlotte Russe, as he leaves off dinner
like a bloated, purple plum, ready to explode.
Lust means joy in German. In Arabic,
in Aramaic, even in Japanese it's
more like apples of Sodom. Like baby's breath,
bad bottled water, like love's labor's lost,
more like the phantom cat of our sexual
appetites, the Golem of Prague, the fish
winds off Honolulu. O hurricane eye of Isabel!
O succubi of Babylon! A wolf wades the
marshes of Eden, where moonflowers suck
moonlight, red dust, oil lust seeping into
sand, the shriveled, skeleton tree in a bone-
chip parking lot, where teens smoke weed
by the Euphrates, and Jesus drives a pickup truck
and tries to drive him off the road, out and away beyond
the garden, the half-dead tree of knowledge
that bends from the weight of its knowing fruit.
Pride loiters at the gates of Limbo.
Bird-man of Alcatraz, brilliant xenophobe,
hull and husk of Oedipus. Wandering blind
through noontime traffic, a Quebecois MP,
a DMZ assassin, a Stasi spy who eyes a falling
morningstar. Ash-fingered, cross-weary,
Grand Inquisitor, martyr of the First Crusade:
your bloody lips are shut.
Le terrorisme, you choke-cry like a
strutting peacock, et un fait accompli.
Just try living on fifty rupees! Try to dupe
the public libraries! Every dark
Arab is your enemy, every beachhead is
Guantanamo. While your cronies
cower on the dry-boned earth, you singe
your wings in the vault of the sun
and plummet to the sea, to a Cherokee patriot
nation, to the great whale that swallows you.