I wrote this poem in the ruins outside the village where I’m staying. Because I used to be an actor and am very in love with the power of the spoken word, often, my poems feel to me like they were born to be spoken, not read. So I recorded myself reading this, right after I finished writing it. I did a terrible job. I cut off the tip of my nose at times and sputtered over some words, but I still want it to be shared aloud. So here it is. The text is below, just in case my reading is confusing.
A CALL TO ARMS, WRITTEN IN THE RUINS OF AN ANCIENT CASTLE, JUST BEFORE THE RAIN
When I die do not count me among the so-called saints, the fearful ones who bit their tongues, sealed their eyes shut, stabbed their ears with withering fingers, bowed lowed before kings and priests born to make meat of men and women, sent to subdue the magic of earth, and by some sick alchemy change her heaven to hell. They weave an inferior magic, black threads spun of witch hunts, wars, the roars of tractors come to flatten forests, inquisitions, subdivisions, the screams of starving children.
Instead, count me among the mad ones who danced as if fires burned beneath their feet, who opened their eyes wide and saw everything, who swallowed the universe whole, who screamed truth from hilltops fringed with purple weeds more precious than gold, who hold the laws of sacred magic in their bones, who found God in cyclones and monkeys and anemones, who slept little but sang much, who understood The Almighty was not scribbled in scrolls and carved in stones, but was written on the platelets of their blood, who loved not with their minds but with their marrow, who knew the straight and narrow road leads inward, not out, who shouted “no” to apathy, to tyranny, to lies.
Brothers, sisters of light, the night is almost over. Greet the dawn. Our backs buckle. We have labored long in the moonless black, but now is not the time to sleep, to die, to calcify into shells of the miracles we once were. Do not be pacified by their empty ease, their greed, their insatiable need for gold, gold, and more gold, pagan altars of cold, worthless stones built on the holy bones of our children.
Our “fuck no” cries must echo the whole world over, set the stratosphere ablaze, upend the graves of dead prophets, burn through the gray illusion that hovers heavy over the surface of the earth, give birth to the heaven that burns at the molten center of our mother’s sacred core.