The Apes of Wrath


virus history flickers
incurably
inside my heart
& you are with me Walt Whitman
in every blade of grass
you are with me
on Brooklyn Bridge
crossing over

& you are here now
Woody Guthrie
as your sun comes shining
in redwood forest
& I too wonder if this land
is still made for you & me

Harriett Tubbman
Margaret Sanger
St. Caesar Chavez
Malik El-Shabazz
Dr. King

Blake's mystic vision
Baudelaire's flowers of evil
all here

& we are with you Leonard Peltier
locked down in your wounded theatre
built upon the blood of the native dead
brick upon brick of law
stars & stripes
forever

you are here now
Abbie Hoffman & Mother Ginsberg

Rosa Parks
there is a seat for you
at the front of the freedom
train
show us the way

& what New Deal have we now?
what Great Society
conspires to steal the vote
& pimp our country
to the lowest
bidder?

I was always schooled that America
was a refuge for genius

I cannot tell a lie

a sanctuary for the arts

above all
a champion of
science &
reason

good time god
for everyone
w/in or
          w/out

                    the genius
          of the crippled
                         mind

               the god of the bird
                                            that dreams
                                                              of flight

the insane
worship

the predator dawn
& the peeling
knell of sunset

as any
reason
flies away

whistling in the
dark

America
five foot tall in your six foot dreams
invisible inside your ghetto conformity
& who will save you from yourself
America? where is your heaven
(you cannot shrug your shoulders
you have your hell in Iraq
& aborting democracy
isn't that murder?)

as you lamely lament your lost children

the avenging angel of childhood
all grown up
hammer high
"VENGEANCE IS MINE" tattooed
upon his Philistine forehead

your patriot child erect before you now
armed with the Promethean rage of atomic fire
& the binary thunder of Zeus

your progeny unmoved
by the crush of corporate lions
& the giddy citizens
who give themselves gladly to the
blood sport democracy
pulsing thru their arterial cable networks

          (let freedom ring
          America slobbers

          feed the nonconformists
          to the hungry fat cats)

revolution once
a flower in the barrel of a gun
a closed fist
an open mind
& we shall overcome

give peace a chance

          the revolution is being televised           the revolution is being televised
          the revolution is being televised

what you see
& what you
don't

the ghosts of war
rising from the killing fields
of Wall Street
of Gettysburg
(the ghost dancers of Wounded Knee)
Oklahoma
& Columbine
all rising like the phoenix of a bad acid nightmare
with the broke & broken babble of blind young soldiers
oiled by God the Destroyer
& the vengeful bark of hungry gun song
dipped in gold

somewhere between the
malignancy of thought we call
madness
& the retarded universe of the
innocent & the sane

we exist

angels weep
fools parade
the universe is weary

& in the suicide swamp
of eager apocalypse

I look out

(born again
as gravity
I cannot help
but fall
head over
heel

eternity's infinite kisses
to save me)

ah
sweet revolution
catch me
I am yours

          the revolution is being televised           the revolution is being televised
          the revolution is being televised

the gathering red clouds of revolt
descend like a ravenous locust upon the landscape
devouring waving wheat
& purple majesty
in its divine
disclosure

history screams back
from inside the gulag of hope
& speaks to the virgin suicides
like time unlived in the wake of too much is never
enough
& the pyrite promise of
heaven spent
beneath the shock & awe
of empire

America
you drank
& became
empty

          the revolution is being televised           the revolution is being televised
          the revolution is being televised

apocalypse rose
blooms in the thousand centuries
it takes to make a moment
there is no sweeter victory


2004 - S.A. Griffin