Five Poems by Jack Harvey

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. 


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