PREVIOUS NEXT FIRST NIHILITY, AN ODE, Without the walls of Troy...


el Greco's Laocoon
Without the walls of Troy

the Grecian troops
conducted homage to their alien gods

in long discourse of Drama & in dancing groups

while th'knight-like Gangs
(fightin'n carrying-on)
with their blunt rods displayed their battle skills

to countless hordes wine-drunk & lecherous
beyond all human & inhuman Morality

(enjoying themselves with Games
darkest) O th'unscrupulous villains
selling themselves! or buying impious Indecency

amongst th'sacred spreading daffodils!

while Troy stays still
within its spotless marble walls

sweating, transfixed atop impenetrable heights

... the chorus of virgins softly sighing &
singing by the waterfalls & fountains

... while th'dry, old brains sink
to dumb, muted twilights
along the lively alleys
where Dark Resolution
frames its unsought Spirit
out of th'extremest shades

& dust Winds & wry Rages
rinsing the Thorough All

drying black intimidations
of the downing spheres!

without the walls of Troy

heroic in resignation,
dancing the sacred dances
of th'doomsday dusk

... all the open windows
decorated with the most sad faces,

looking emptily into The Mirrored so
hard grimaces of those brick walls
or, upon th'Dawn growing out of city limits,

swilling the soundlessness
of its Will (unwillingness)

melting upon its jaws, the Lost
already & yet heroic at their hopeless roar

like the extraordinary stirrings
of Mankind's most human art:

there is found (preposterously
tied onto the wild-sowed grain
of life's hoped-for humanity):

the subtle, artificial workings of the urban
mind yet hidden within the scratches-rains

rejoicing (nurturing its screeching fission
of all mortal illusions

into The Light of Day) bending its wide
body of treacherous curves

into the angles of a Freedom
it should have known
(or knew)

      ... Now,
where forbidden Strains
incredibly float by the echoless
restraints of Memory:

the Grecian troops
break into Troy shouting

"Give up our Paris!" & "Where's Helen hid?"
destroying the Trojans sighing (as
they're dying): "Who is this Helen of yours?"

    "But, Paris
has been dead for centuries!"
falling & falling &

falling, subsequent & subsequent &
subsequent Absolute flowers dying

without the walls of Troy within

the cool, cool consonances of our self-
control, the language
of leagues & leagues, the universal

laments of The Quiet ladles by ladles
draining out The Cosmic Sea
of our farthest memories

thereby wiping clean the mysterious
history so eloquent in its quell
--and then Nature napping in its bed of wonders,

and Man wearing but a memory
for Mind, stranded in Th'Miraculous
Implied self-conquest, but "Why?" and

"Why?" asks Man,
who cannot decide:

who is the most brutal?

who is the most unjust?

has he not The Right to defend himself!

attending the unfrequented plot
whereon stood Time-without-end

Mankind's murderous maggots
at the mutton & the lamb,
hemlocks of human memories

contemplative, all of their dawn & dark
incapable of eluding O, th'maddening

multitudes that in Ire rapturous
searched, searched (blood in their nostrils

& their notions like a sponge)
for th'most vulnerable Site

There to attack! through treachery
(or by some more equal sacrifice)

--In life, Death was their most treasured

       "Who were they?"
(those puzzling dark creatures
of the unenlightened Past,

our most admired ancestors)
living out their self-undenied

being secretly, safe, certain
none of The Enlightened would ever even hear
of it (much less call it a crime)

Everything men do is necessary!

Ah, but the all-justifying final-judgments
of their own progeny (those who are appalled
at Man's failed attempts
at conquering himself at once)

those emasculated civilized men,
ever attending the Too Late,

themselves trying to master All Men
one at a time, simmering amongst the whims

of Chance, thirsting
amongst the cool melons,

while the World's rivers flow
meaningless (before their blanked sight)
to found no destiny to outlive their heights

(down which quick passing eyes
bestow upon The Sacred Deadly Offerings...

those menacing meanings of ancient Man):
their own infinitely simpler crime

--Why failure, then? (Because
Man won't master himself? ever?)

dust to dust The Terrible Uncertain
taste of salt at its delta
for O) Mortality, the purer Form,

The Emphatic Am !

Is our Salvation without? or
within the walls of Troy, stunned,

lulled till, consumed,

all th'laborious Beauty of so long (a)

Melody smothered their matchless Song.
Juan Gris's Woman With A Basket