Enter the Apocalypse Now sense some coming apocalypse, now expect some ripe recipe for total disaster; in the first nanoseconds of God's hideous anger, fortified with worse than fire and brimstone, the earth, our mother, overcome, overcooked, glows hot and red, our red-hot mama can't be saved; the heat, the deadly radiation patiently seek our bones, our marrow, our cells. From Pensacola to Beijing and all points west, east, north, south, everything dead or alive, rocks to rooks to cats to Kathy next door burnt to a crisp; look at the charred trees in the garden of Eden where Eve's lovely breasts and the rest of her used to sit; the patient farmer turned to charcoal along with his plough; even the dead and buried wake, turn and peer up through bone holes, wormy eyes; some citizens see nothing but the removal of agriculture in their situation, an end to the fertile earth; others, passing on from a life of faulty digestion, sour guts and Paregoric show faith in the power of death; no hurt to them, this ravishing terminus. The typewriter building in Rome, the Taj Mahal, Saint Peter's dome, start to smoke, then in the blink of an eye, like fiery wedding cakes go up in a blaze; oceans boil away, roaring their anguish, their seasoning burning in white heaps; the glaciers cry away their mass in floods of icy water; mountains melt like butter, rained on by the corona of some enormous nearby sun. The shroud of death spreads over the broad burning earth and then the horror of too much Assyrian orange takes away resemblance from everything, leaving the remains of blackened bits and pieces, unidentified debris, piles of nothing turning to dust and less than dust. We don't have enough time for all of it, over the eons slowly creeping and no need describing the whole extinction, my fellow shareholders; a spectacular dish for special occasions, but expensive and terminal; beyond its horribly radiant gate, beyond God's towering cloud of wrath, wherever he is, there is nothing. ======================= Headlines Gadabout God faces famous courtesan, tits and all, calls Moses a fraud, calls Jesus false as the bloody cross he hung from; tricks of the trade, snakes in the grass, he calls them, all of them; read all about it, it's all here, plain as day or the sparkling night. Queens leave adultery to their daughters instead of cold millions; read all about it, read about flames, arson, dying firemen, flying bullets and dead famous entertainers, death coming to Disneyland in a hoop-skirt; lapidary hoopla, it's all there, bold as brass, stupid as paint, creating coffins of words, black and fleeting, holding us briefly and no more. We ain't talking about the good word, boys and girls, the gospels to come, to be told, to be treasured; just the daily bleating, the comings and goings, the ratcheting of infamous feats, retarded admirals and presidents at home and abroad, in big trouble, uh-oh, stays of execution, all kinds of sinners and whores in the fields of earth and at the end of the road, the end of now, as we know it, a modest apocalypse. Wow! And forget it. God, sly as a fox and bold as a lion, scales down his limitless circumference, signaling from the sky, comes down again, this time harrowing not only hell, but earth's own sweet self, not only boxing the daily evangelists into oblivion, but bringing to us all His grace and terrible truth; ripping out now with the message of eternity; none of it lasts, folks, not a goddamned bit of it. =============================== Out In the Country All my fantasies have fled the old homestead; the hacienda’s as empty of heat as winter’s candles. Still as a painting the moon hangs in the snoring night; twice-pale she looks, Diana surprised by the hunter. Hounds skate down moonbeams like avenging furies; the stag, a shadow, a ghost, runs over the meadows. Running far from my native shores I let the wonderful cooler native women play with me, titillate me, adulate me, until my weary head rests at last on the anvil. At night, satiate and subdued, I walk on the beach, lonely stars above the encompassing sea. Lonely, I look at the night; to my fallible mirror of self Prince Hamlet or Nial at the least, stalking, brooding on the strand; to rutting teens, more like an apparition, an old fool doddering in the moonlight. Well, even Athens looked like a heap of stone to a seagull flying high as Hitler’s arm once was; we souls below swoop close, try to embrace in tortures measured to the goose-stepping firmament. Saint Lawrence, well done over the coals, put up a reckless good front besieged; passus est or assus est, died or fried, it was over; this fire, his life, burnt out. For us a lesson; a thousand enemies gnaw at brains and bones alike, defy them all, at the crack of doom defy; it’s soon enough the stinting grass grows over our heads. ============================== Sodom and Gomorrah Pretty soon some passengers on the planes and trains of life, like those denizens of the vicious cities of the plain, become unbearable to God, commit some grievous sin for which there is no forgiveness. The pilot closes the cockpit door, the engineer gives way to schedules and surly expediency and God piles on his vengeance, brings down a murderous rain of brimstone and fire. Among the bogus violets in the engine cab, the plastic roses in the cockpit, late in the night a scholar writes his history of those vengeful times; his eyelids close and sightless he writes on until Ursa Major, the Great Bear, runs its course, rolling around the night sky like it always does. This is the end for them, in those cities on the plain. The once fruitful earth has no sympathy for them, long bearing the blasted remains of those two shining cities brought low by God's hand. The fire and brimstone rained down in blazing whirlwinds, rough with light; upside-down towers and fiery finials, close-packed, bizarre as the stone-knobbed agonized spires of the Sagrada Família; Gaudi's masterpiece. Abraham, bargaining with an obliging God, pled down to less than a baker's dozen to save the city by God's mercy; His holy messengers, in Lot's house compassed about, pressed by perverts, blinded them and went out searching for what they were sent to find; alas, not finding in this teeming city even ten of the righteous. Lot's family does right and gets out of town. On the smoking streets people running like ants and it's no use; His terrible face and rage, seen above the furnace of destruction. So that was that and Lot's wife, looking back that one time, turned to salt by the divine effulgence or a last fateful look at her burning city, who knows? Lot's wife become a memory, standing pinnacle of salt; a lesson to us all in the window of history. Little room left for life after a city of calamities goes up in your face; the family saved, the mother lost by a love too strong for her old place or simply dried up by the radiance of God. Creatures made and unmade by Him and that for vengeance and that's the end of it. ================================= Talk About the Wild West Talk about the wild west, talk about the plains, talk about the bygone Indian days; there never was a time we couldn't see in our mind's eye the tribes passing, rambling through that outstretched land, staying and settling, never was a time we couldn't feel the anger of that tomahawking wild and wooly holdup age; the rage that never ended until death lost nations, destroyed the old ways, the broad paths, the houses, the tepees, the very remains of the hearths broken in the dust. It's gone now and now we only see the piebald horses, the rust-colored run by the buttes as spring snipes away at the Rockies; twittering birds eat what they can find, whatever's left on the ground. Sweet grass comes up timely for the cows lowing and eating and we talk about the wild west to the takers of the land, to the sad remnants of bygone nations. Lady Look, lovely messenger, reigns over hill and dale, towns and mountains; spring's mansion of leaves and blooms fills, blossoms out; dogwood trees white white like fallen parachutes lift up their plumage to the warming sun; daffodils spread lavish light. Spring besieges summer, more, more, it asks, presses for more beauty and life, newness, the colors of the rainbow, the paleness of the new moon, the red-winged blackbird, the oriole, all showing the world they bring and we sing old cowboy songs to the takers of the land, to the sad remnants of bygone nations. O skipping lamb, cakewalk by the broken shopping carts; with your small hooves, click, click, show the asphalt you're the boss. Nevertheless, never endless the reign of spring ends, the bird notes slow, dwindled away by the sleepy summer heat, drowsy the trees barely shrug, the tar melts on the roads. Only misbegotten seeming perennials apprehend the end of a proud race; heads of flowers and men gay only for a while, knowing the cycle of bygone days, heads drooping already in dreams of root-clutching cold, change of seasons, the end of an age, a way of life, the end of the wild west we knew, caught in lifeless tightfisted memories and we talk about the wild west, talk about the plains to the takers of the land, to the sad remnants of bygone nations.
Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Comstock Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Typishly Literary Magazine, The Antioch Review, The Piedmont Poetry Journal and elsewhere. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.
The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired. He once owned a cat who could whistle “Sweet Adeline,” use a knife and fork and killed a postman.
His book, Mark the Dwarf is available on Kindle. https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Dwarf-Jack-D-Harvey-ebook/dp/B019KGW0F2
Headlines, Out In the Country and Apocalypse appeared previously in Zombie Logic Review; Sodom and Gomorrah and Wild West in RavensPerch.