Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Lamentation


painting by sandro botticelli.


Lamentation

“If it were possible to cure evils by lamentation, or to raise
the dead with tears, then gold would be less valuable than
weeping.”--Sophocles.

Do birds at first light call you Lenny,
or do you demand that they warble Leonard,
          as sleep must be combed out of your tangled curls,
          as the uniqueness of your finger whorls
                     tap out another hit tune, craft words, and
                     rustle up raw uninhibited rhythms, just as
          the night birds fade, & the birds of dawn
          on their wire, in their way, entreat you to
let go of those dark dream harpies,
to allow the healing light of a new day to
          teach you how to dance
          butt-naked in the Now?

Why is it that the first thing you always hear are the crisis criers,
           the media whores & TV News hosts telling you, yet again
                   that somewhere on this shrunken earth, the hideous
                             hounds of war have devoured,
                                                             murdered,
                                                             butchered,
                                                             imprisoned,
                                                             exploded &
                                                             attacked the innocent;

                                                             too damn many teddy bears
                                                    beheaded, feet still wearing shoes
                                                torn from legs, tiny pink fingers piling
                                          up like bloody boned sausages, & festive
                                   sidewalk cafe caesar salads sizzle with C-4 & 
                              glops of terrorist’s entrails, because the holy dove
                       is plucked clean, featherless, shackled. captured, then
             set free, only to be caught again--never ever to soar for more
than a timid instant on its broken wings. 

Dear God, these bloody sins            occur         on your holy day
as cathedral bells chime out             across       the battlements,
but Lord, even they are digital           now,         as the great clappers
                                
                               in the shining stone towers are not 
                               clanging any more, as the behemoth
                               silver bells hang flaccid & useless,
                               heralding nothing, just as golden
                               mosques come alive, their loud
                                speakers extolling: Allah Akbar
                                & you can’t help but wonder which
                                face God wears when he hears the news?

You groan & moan that your time
of dissent is all but spent during
those turbulent decades when it
was you who carried the signs,
skipped over all the land mines
& faced SWAT steel bayonets, fire
hoses, terrible tasers & rubber bullets--always so sure that someone
                                                              would hear, & care, & change,
                                                              not just rearrange the sainted
                                                              structures of political power;
not just busting skulls with oak
batons, gassing the crowds into
tears, hopes into fears, transforming
marches into melees                             as the drums of peace are stilled,
                                                                   the chants for freedom are killed,
                                                              as the ballads became ballistic & every
                                                                   note of love attained refugee status,
                                                              as rifles rearranged the beat, & sirens
                                                                   screamed the new red refrains.

So nothing to do but sit on the floor, sipping strong coffee & smoking
Camels while frantically strumming your weeping guitar, letting the 
charnel churn of emotion be redirected into poetry, lyrics, & magnificent
music, finding freedom within your own tenderness, thrusting it with
love out of your open window, out into the terrible world, where it will
sail beautifully on the winds of fire but for a planetary moment, before
dropping unnoticed into a superfluous heap beneath the deep bronze
cracks in the old bells of liberty that peal no more.


Glenn Buttkus

Written as a response to Leonard Cohen's ANTHEM, where 
There is a crack in everything;
That's how the light gets in.


                                                             

                               

15 comments:

Mary said...

Oh, I really liked this, Glenn! I am a great Leonard Cohen fan - his poetry / his songs. Oh, that voice!! I do wonder what Leonard would sing of the world situations of today. But then again, his songs really are timelessly true, aren't they? The crisis callers in today's world ring out so loudly. It is hard to escape them. Your words are strong, meaningful, touching on so many aspects of today's news. And yes I can see Leonard Cohen sitting on the floor strumming his guitar making sense of everything somehow...dissenting in his own unique way!

De said...

Oh, Glenn. THIS:
"as sleep must be combed out of your tangled curls,
as the uniqueness of your finger whorls
tap out another hit tune, craft words, and
rustle up raw uninhibited rhythms"

Fantastic.

brudberg said...

A great response, how can you write of those disasters or sing a song? How can guitars be blood? Yet maybe that's the best defence. Maybe that's why ISIS ban music. Can you really kill while singing?

Pleasant Street said...

I am so moved by this-
and challenged

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Such a powerfully expressed piece!!

Sienna said...

I love this. What a gratifying read.

Mama Zen said...

Wow, Glenn! This powerful stuff masterfully executed.

Grace said...

Such a powerful and beautiful read Glenn ~ I specially admire the ending part- filled with rising passion and ebb of emotions ~

C.C. said...

That wondering tone at the start is stellar.....and this question, "you can’t help but wonder which
face God wears when he hears the news?" is KILLER---so poignant. I do SO love the Cohen quote you used and the way you captured the feeling of his music (and its effects) in that last paragraph....so lovely. This is one of my most favorites of yours ever. EVER :-)

Kate Mia said...

Well.. while i realize
the Facebook app now
says you are Brazilian..
Glenn.. the forms
iN visuals
remind
me of
Aztec
here.. and
what would
the Mayans
say 'bout today
here now.. oh.. then
wHere did the shining
enlightenment of human
being go.. okay.. i found
it here.. and a few more
places online.. perhaps
the Mayan clock was
still off
a decade
or so..
but the tide..
and not just 'bama..
is riSinG.. i can now
feel iT everywheRe
no less than
planets
aligning
five
at
a
time..
now..
my friend..:)

lucychili said...

heartfelt and sadly too real
it reminds me of this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOztbKyFAFs

Bodhirose said...

I especially liked the part where the former "revolutionaries" reflect on their times of dissent and were "always so sure that someone would hear & care & change, and not just rearrange the sainted structures of political power;"...and the ending was a powerful, though muted, punch with its message of, nothing we do really makes much of a difference. A chilling thought.

georgeplaceblog said...

Powerful and sad... The sum up is depressing.

sail beautifully on the winds of fire but for a planetary moment, before

dropping unnoticed into a superfluous heap beneath the deep bronze

cracks in the old bells of liberty that peal no more.

lillianthehomepoet.wordpress.com said...

"You can't help but wonder which face God wears when he hears the news. "
A profound statement. This entire piece is profound. The ending ... Back to the bell - from flaccid to this.
In a word, remarkable.

davidallenpoet said...

Wow! Just wow!