Unworthy Sons And Daughters Of The Stars - Poem by Patrick White
Unworthy sons and daughters of the stars
is there nothing in this world we won’t kill
one another over? The living order decomposes
into the usual maggots fighting for control
of the corpse. Worms like wet kisses on the eyelids
of a beatific vision of sickly-sweet roses
reeking of death, hemorrhaging on their own thorns.
Systemic hate, separation, corruption, arrogance,
ghoulish celebrity derived from competitive atrocity,
love in the western world, given like a vow
of everlasting fidelity by a child sold
by slave-traffickers in a brothel of nuns
seeking salvation through the sins of the fathers
that have been visited upon them like surrealistic visions
of the same recurrent nightmare their theosophical psychoanalysts
warned them about when they said the prayerwheel
of the Aryans was a swastika turning the wrong way.
Reich rubbish in seven years at the hands of the mongrels.
O sleeper, don’t wake up from the dream you deserve.
Hard, hard, said the charwoman to the doorkeeper
at the St. Regis Hotel. Thirty-five dollars an hour
for a room that isn’t there to please you
like the Taj Mahal still in heat after you die.
Murder on the menu as a way of foraging for food.
Wafer and wine, flesh and blood, but the cannibals
lie to each other like two consenting adults
and anything goes like the First Crusade in the name
of love. History revolves like a dead child dug up
at Maarrat al Nu’man and put on a spit to satisfy
a craving for pagan protein in the mouths
of Christian crusaders on their way to liberate
the abattoirs and halal meat packing plants
of holy Jerusalem, a peaceful name for a savage city.
“Then came to him the King Tafur, and with him fifty score
Of men-at-arms, not one of them but hunger gnawed him sore.
‘Thou holy Hermit, counsel us, and help us at our need;
Help, for God's grace, these starving men with wherewithal to feed.’
But Peter answered, 'Out, ye drones, a helpless pack that cry,
While all unburied round about the slaughtered Paynim lie.
A dainty dish is Paynim flesh, with salt and roasting due.”
Then came the Free Syrian Army and the goons of Assad.
More children, more mothers dead in the street.
More sons in uniform. More lovers torn
from each other’s arms like meat. Eat. Eat.
Feed the tapeworm. Feed the maggot. Feed
Baal and Moloch. Feed Exxon and Halliburton,
feed the corporation, the greed of the politician,
the grand larceny of religion, the ideology,
the gluttonous army like a plague of Egypt,
your children like a blood bank to the slug lines
of the vampiric media waiting like feral dogs
under the dinner plate of the fourth estate
for something to fall off the edge of the world
in time to make a big splash on the news
and the passing impression of profiteering pundits
in front of their camera crews, airing both sides
of the issue as if it were creationally flat
and progressively round at the same time
while the bodies are stacked up like cordwood
and covered in lime like Mozart after he composed the Requiem.
Let the blindfolded lotus-eaters thrive on your dreams
like a Disneyland of the mystic mind, eat
the eyes out of your children’s Oedipal visions of life
just as you would drink spit out of a fish’s mouth
calling out for something to drink like a saviour
with a stomach wound and a bitter cup of vinegar
as we’re all dying of thirst like the salt of the earth
beside a freshwater lake with a fracked aquifer.
Apes of rage. Lizards in elected office. Electorates
of burn victims denying medicine to each other
in a society defunding the hospital they’re lying in.
Stupid rules. Corruption’s got more friends
than the ingenues of honesty. Mobocratic asteroids
take their revenge like genetically modified breadcrumbs
on three blind mice by being the first to throw stones
at rodents living between the walls of their glass houses
like bankers for the solar system. Average out the crucials
most people are decent to a degree. Most people
when they’re not scared, would feed a child starving child
on their over mortgaged front stair. Most people
aren’t snarling like rabies in a cult of ideologies
against the doctor-assisted suicide of lapdogs.
The charwoman asked the doorman at the St. Regis Hotel
if he could use another prosthetic limb she found
in a room of the lost and found that’s lost track
of the bodycount of disabled robots on crack.
What a disappointment it must be to find out
through your own obituary you died for nothing
when you get home from war and no one remembers
your name is spelled with three x’s on your birth certificate
but rated general public on your gravestone.
Fleeced just like the lamb butchered at the Last Supper.
Kosher, halal, or Tim Horton’s? Did they boil the kid
in its mother’s milk? Were you transubstantiated?
Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Just like Jesus,
worshipped by debt-collectors with AK-47’s and Ousis.
The people are dead and the rats are multiplying.
They’re gnawing through the soul-less windowsills.
They’re gnawing through the deathmasks we wore
to keep from being asked who we once were
when we were keeping bodycounts on our identities
like an abacus of vertebrae on demented simians
whose brains got bigger the more meat they scavenged
until they approached the fever pitch of our intelligence
and learned to kill for themselves like a museum
of natural history in a nightmare that’s just as extinct.
O unworthy sons and daughters of the stars, from
the cradle to grave, we’re morgues that have learned to think.
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