It is only as far as to throw a stone across the dawn,
A distance sectioned into temporal measures,
All travel a matter of selecting a musical
How far to the East? One hundred stories.
How far beyond? Add a few lyric odes.
I have had my flesh conquered and peopled
By Romans, and invariably I
Become a Roman.
With my shaded boughs and mysterious winding rivers,
My daunting jagged cliffs and my lush swamps,
I am both another shield in their phalanx
And the source of their diseased expiration.
Forced to talk, this interrogated land tells its secret
A point de poignard,
And this land opens its mouth, out comes miasma.
History records a plague,
The army petitions for more wine rations against the credit
Of an imperial center that knows not the dubiety of foreign water.
As a land, I am poisonous to the invader,
But they decapitate me, border me, section me, assign the standards of provinces.
They cauterize my growth, they bleed me through the aqueducts,
They level my hills, encamp on my plateaus, export my florid gems.
They impale me upon the imperial crown, and then
They are driven back,
They leave. They retreat like a highly organized glacier,
Leaving their stains, scars, and tears as they drag back.
Now my land rings hollow, a lugubrious wind in an abandoned bath.
The roads have crumbled,
And even the milestones have freely mixed their materials with them.
They should have installed clocks rather than milestones,
Songs instead of regulations,
An ode rather than an emperor who now stands mute,
Dead, a mere statue of a man representing something too far away.
How many songs' return to the emperor? That is the question posed the statue.
Cut to shreds, only the carcass of the lion's song, a staccato hymnal.
Someone saw the sign in the sky, and it was by this that much of me was conquered;
But not all.
Neglect not the sign upon the earth, in the interstitial relations of wind between
My canyons wherein is eternally trapped the echo of songs past.
Can/does cigarette plug a hole?
Again, listen to poet-chorus speak (in haste, esprit)--
By heady gloom or flow'ry spiel,
By slavish occupational zeal to the ego-bund
Or the shaky hand that trills and tremolos the night.
By the line bounded, vowels form
Or the freed line that gains momentum.
The vowels seem to bloom in shadow.
By the con furioso of desire
Or the germanophilic serious depth.
By the stroke of one pen against another or
The bedded pen on straw as
Dreams of grand masturbation.
By the glint of steel
On the apricot blush of flesh,
Here stands/lies poet.