Nietzsche Turned To The Night And Asked

What would you have me compared to, then? 
The scorpion that strayed too far under the sun 

and stung itself to death, or the sightless 
mole that kept digging circles in the same 

archaic dirt? And why should it matter, 
there’s nothing left; nothing

but a silence more perfect than music;
no blinding shafts of imaginary light,

and no Judgment waiting at the end of that light; 
there is no light. It was ever only this:

beyond existence, merely the mystery;
beyond the mystery, merely one's choice—

faith or doubt—and nothing else. 
Man is soiled only by the sin of his servility,    

bound only by the fear of his freedom;
the shackles of guilt, the gallows of shame,

Nature commanded to kneel at the cross,
flagellate itself and beg for forgiveness—

what are these if not the vulgar shadows
cast between the columns of Fear and Otherness?

I fought to overthrow this abject indemnity,
eradicate our irrational superstitions,

and focus the power and purpose of existence 
toward its rightful object: existence.

These are the only wars worthy of humanity.
But here is your unimpeachable corpse— 

and better that I sought the “unholy” truth
and found only poverty, madness and death,

than were I to have sat still, waiting to be found. 
Reason was never more frightening than this.
For Chance Vallon, May 1995

On A Sunday Afternoon, No Less

For there is no respect of persons with God. – Romans 2:11
I thought I had a ticket to the show and not the tell, 
a tangible paradise and not the usual Heaven Above, 
a place where a man can get the hell out of his own way.
Maybe you've heard of it. They say it doesn’t advertise, 
never hires, never trades, never drafts players and ferries 
them off to one team or another according to who'd 
served the harshest penance, who'd kept playing 
through injury upon injury inflicted upon logic, 
or who'd played for the winning team in the right 
colored uniforms—no, no, nothing like that. 

                      This place doesn’t kill for attention, 

and it doesn’t have other abject dependency needs. 
It doesn’t have needs at all. It simply is, like a basket of 
beach balls at the grocery store as you’re headed toward 
the edible produce. And today I saw something simpler still— 
an immigrant kid selling bundles of roses at my freeway exit. 
I was stopped in traffic watching the kid, and when the light 
turned green and everyone was about to go through, a family 
several cars ahead of me stopped to buy roses from him. 
They must have handed him a large bill and he was running it 
back to his cart to make change—all of this taking place 
as the lane to my right was moving along as smoothly as you 
please—and suddenly I was a shotgun loaded with impatience. 

My eyes on that stopped car and that kid keeping it stopped 
were like sights on a barrel, and I clicked off the safety and 
yelled out the window: “Goddamn it, move, you assholes!!!”
Which was wholly unnecessary. They finished with plenty 
of time for everyone to make it through. Then it hit me: 
How could I be angry at those people, and for no good 
reason since they didn't even hear me? The whole 
thing took about six seconds, an infinitesimal lapse 
of time, even in the secular perception of time. 
Certainly those seconds meant nothing to me, 
and yet so complete was my instantaneous wrath, 

                      so infantile and malevolent,

as if I had something more important to attend to, 
a raft of other sinners waiting to be judged, and these 
“assholes” throwing their wrench in the works. It was such a 
flash-flood of irrational fear, you’d think I had no respect 
for people at all. I'm guessing the ticket was counterfeit. 

A Fireside Prayer

Bless the black mold growing unchecked across the bathroom 
       ceilings and the permanent stench of dog-pissed carpet. 
   Bless the duct tape webbing the windows, the insect carcasses

left in the sills, and bless the drapes condemned by moths,
       crucified on aluminum rods. Bless the sofa’s cigarette burns, 
   the unclean countertops crawling with ants, the breadcrumbs 

feeding the roaches underneath the toaster. Bless the photographs 
       of obedient frowns. Bless the dust on their beaten frames.
   Bless the bibles and other examples of bad fiction best ignored. 

Bless the blaring gospel hour and the telephone receiver left off the
       hook. Bless this celebration of shame. Bless this rapturous running sore 
   and its captured minds cowering inside. O bless their hearts. Amen.

Should A God Fall Out Of The American Sky

Should a god fall out of the American sky
    like a faded leaf, I’ll run to you.

Should the parchments burn, the columns buckle
    and the monuments collapse, I’ll run to you.

And should the last captain abandon ship 
    in a sea of panic, I’ll run to you

    and (laughing) kiss you

like a kid running through an autumn forest,
    crushing the faded leaves.