Pan-American

Craig Allen Heath
Nov 22, 2020 · 3 min read
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Oh, heady days!
Late imperial, early feudal,
rancor in the air like poison smoke.
We breathe in fitful gasps
and coughs, inhale the future,
waste the exhale in shouts of spleen.
Grinning, cheap movie villains,
we play to the camera,
our manicured and bloody hands
midwife the suicide of a people.

All gunpowder and lipstick,
every finger tap and eyeball twitch
recorded, measured, bought, sold,
stolen and raped, we laugh at pain
for a discount at the bar.
To kill is to finger-snap,
to steal is to wink,
to love is to mouth words
soundless, empty, absurd,
even the teeth in our smile
capped, bleached, false.

The greatest! The greatest we scream,
pretending truth is all assertion
and threat. A finger in the eye delights
in pain, tears made the scarlet mark
of weakness, inviting the predator strike.
To the future! we shout.
To the past! we echo,
now the only moment
in the vastness of time
where none may stand.

Mad, hysterical, every face a mask
to cloak fear, loathing become a cocktail
mixed with acrid, bitter history
and the cold liquor of present crime.
Arms belching fire, consuming flesh,
flesh crystallized, impotent to comfort,
to soothe fevered brows.
Fever now the symptom of all malady,
lacking the cleansing effect,
fever itself the kindling of it’s own increase.

Blameless all, in the mirrored eyes,
in the annals of self-excusing memoir.
Every ego a universe, every id a god.
Flicking fingers proclaim inerrant truth
to the rabble clamoring below
the parapets of our boundless conceit.
Left, right, up, down, center, edge, blue, red —
no torture of inquisition is banned
in the science of the insane.
Wherever two of us gather
in the name of any frankenstein messiah,
there also is the blessing of horror
visited on enemies of our inner church.

A great maw, bloody, ravenous,
razor teeth numbered in hundred-millions,
we chew and swallow our way
through time, space, flesh, rock, water, air.
Brainless, soulless, an insatiable gut
feeding on what can be captured
between opposing jaws, each one biting
to spite and wound the other.
A creature eating itself, hating
both the hunger and the food.
No ouroboros, nothing with meaning
and sense, symbol of ever-renewing life —
it all goes in and nothing comes out.

Come, hated siblings, gather ‘round the fire.
Throw the children on for lightwood,
the aged to feed inferno, fan the flames
with the future that will never be.
Let us warm our bones on lunacy,
knowing, as the apostle knows the gospel,
we had no choice; our hands were bound
against us, against all reason.
We could do no other than what we did —
feckless, all-powerful, innocent, sinful.
No history will explain this epoch, this people.
If lessons were learned from the chronologies
of time, we would have learned them
long ago, and this lament
would never be sounded.

Literally Literary

We've Got a Story for You

Craig Allen Heath

Written by

“Heaven is a library of every book ever written, eternity to sit and read, and a bottomless cup of the best coffee.”

Literally Literary

We've Got a Story for You

Craig Allen Heath

Written by

“Heaven is a library of every book ever written, eternity to sit and read, and a bottomless cup of the best coffee.”

Literally Literary

We've Got a Story for You

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