Wait, How Does That Song Go?

The Great Day of His Wrath 1851-3 by John Martin 1789-1854

John Martin – The Great Day of His Wrath

First trumpet solo
Thrown to earth,
blood pools in my feet
and legs.
The world blacks out
(but also rainbows).
I catch chill.
Icy-hot fires prick my skin.
My hair stands,
on end, singed.

Second trumpet solo
My heart quakes and
my rocky spine trembles.
Two heaving lungs
fall into my
stomach’s pit.
I gotta go so bad it hurts.
My bowels slosh:
hot blood and piddle.
Rudderless in my pooling gut–
my ship wrecked,
I go down with it.

Third trumpet solo
Your bright bitterness
another yellow sun.
Crashes into my sunken chest.
My cave of ribs
I seep out
revealed to be
mostly oily sacks
and fluid; some ideals,
but mostly spleen.
My bones settle again to bedrock
and the groundwater swells up
and become a spring’s
bittersweet drip.
I take out my
slotted spoon and sugar cube
and drink up.

Fourth trumpet solo
Besotted and blinkered,
(I swallowed my lucky star)
The sun and moon in
sympathy strike themselves out
like match heads.

Fifth trumpet solo
I wake up at the speakeasy.
Woah woooooooooah
Some bird-like crooner and
his sappy melody
warning of love.
I haven’t seen animals
in the clouds since I was a kid
but the cigarette smoke curls into
barbed insect tails and
stamping hoven haunches.
Swell-chested lifers push
through the fumes in
cracked leather.

Sixth trumpet solo
Closing time–
the bars and clubs release their patrons,
their smoke.
Liquid binds broken
and  now bound for home.
brawny exultations, curses
snot, spit, sputum
tales like snakes eating their own,
A beery pandemic.
I hear
“Something’s Got a Hold of Me”
from the window of a passing
gypsy cab.

Seventh trumpet solo
Thinking of you,
among the liquored and blinkered
(the last to walk on god’s earth
for tonight).
Passing by the stacked bricks,
as if I could see thorough
each apartment wall
and see that
the whole people is melting with fear.
I stood on our stoop
before the hail drove me in.
Thunder shook the walls,
already too thin to those of us
who see.
You ‘d better reinforce those walls,
until you have
no room
to lie.
Someday the bricks are gonna fall.

Head Out
your walls must come
But baby,
don’t worry
there is love
in the ruins.


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