Tuesday, April 4, 2017

National Poetry Month: John Roche

"Lament (as 2016 leaves us)" - John Roche

All the songs of the singers
All the poems of the bards
All the spells of the brujas
All the ceremonies of the shamans
effect less than the flick of the pudgy pinkie of Donald Little Hands

Leonard Cohen is dead
Democracy is leaving the USA
Pete Seeger's dead
Bowie's dead
Prince is dead
Leon Russell’s dead
Dylan's in Nobel heaven
Jim Harrison is dead
C.D. Wright is dead
David Meltzer is dead
Huston Smith is dead

Jonah's tomb has been smashed
The museums looted
The ruins of Mesopotamia bulldozed
The dervishes flogged
The ancient Zoroastrians buried alive or made sex slaves

The waters of Flint run red from the pipes
The Water Keepers of Dakota are beaten and gassed
The oil vultures get ready to plunder the Arctic
The glaciers keep melting
The cheetah is mostly extinct

It looks like all the Bodhisattvas may be leaving us
Is this the prophesied death of the Dharma?

Is there no balm of Gilead?
No flower of Gilgamesh?
No sprig of lilac such as Walt offered?
No psalm such as Marley sang to help us endure the coming Captivity?
No song such as Woody sang to rally us to fight?

I fling these ashes of a nation into the eyes of the tyrant

John Roche lives in Albuquerque New Mexico after spending a teaching career in the Genesee River / Western Finger Lakes region of Western New York. "Before May Day" is part of his online feature, Road Ghosts, at Michael Rothenberg's Big Bridge magazine. The poet's full length print collections include On Consensus (2005) and Topicalities (2008). Both are available from Foothills Publishing.

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