Part Nine: Across the River of Arabim
They elected to stay if life would improve
And delayed when it only got worse,
Then selected a day to pack up and move
To evade the effects of the curse;
They carry, on their backs and shoulders,
Though strength, at length, has abated,
Fetishes as heavy as boulders,
Evil goods accumulated.
As lost, unfit and out of place
As fish fresh out of water,
This vain pipedream they blindly chase,
Like lambs led to the slaughter,
En route to where streams cross the sand,
Where cranes and albatrosses land
To dally in a valley that’s brimming with fresh water,
Over a desert sea, which diurnally gets hotter.
Traversing this uneasy land,
They’re looking for dirt that’s rich and moist:
Past unforgiving seas of sand,
A brook where plans can be hatched and voiced.
The plains are all hurting, of mirth bereft;
Folks hope a sliver, though very slim,
Remains of some fertile patch of earth left:
Across the River of Arabim.
Part Ten: The Nightmare of History
All their problems they vowed to leave behind
And trunks of treasure take,
But they merely move matter, not their minds,
So how can they awake?
How can they escape the chains that bind
When they’re in love with the pains they cause
And cling to them with body and mind,
As if the links were natural laws?
How can the nightmare of history
Be left that far behind,
When its crux and central mystery
Are matters of the mind?
Somewhere safe, where they can settle and live,
Is out of sight but not out of mind,
Where they can write a metanarrative,
Inspired by whatever they find.
They need a place to be reborn
And weave new webs of lies,
As clothes are graciously worn
To hide what’s hard on eyes.
With cloaks of ink they’ll need cover-ups,
For it all has been laid bare;
A bitter drink is in the lover’s cup,
For castles are made of air.
Exposé equals apocalypse,
A block on which humanity trips,
Keeping it on its toes.
Part Eleven: The Uncovering
Pavement splits as blades of grass shoot;
In broken windows owls hoot:
Now the city is a haven
For the bittern and the raven.
No bricklayer repairs a wall;
The last to leave just stared, appalled:
Never will humanity adorn her
Or pick one stone again for a corner.
What she has sown she now has reaped,
Which fate she couldn’t avoid;
The harlot’s bones are buried deep
In the soil she destroyed.
The great whore will not make a peep,
No echo of her sound;
Nevermore will she wake to creep,
All wrecked up, from the ground.
Part Twelve: A Population Without a Town
They trampled nature under their boots,
And fatter they grew, like sows;
So mother-earth replenished no shoots,
No matter how much they plowed.
They gobbled up their plants and roots,
Nuts and berries, sheep and cows;
No field then yielded any fruit,
Because of how much they plowed.
They took their booty and their loot,
What their ways and means allowed
And ventured out, in vague pursuit,
By the sweat of their furrowed brows.
With doubt they are plagued, for it’s moot
If aught exists past a misty shroud,
Where owls lay eggs, brood and hoot,
With abundance of wisdom endowed.
Their brass horns some make a point to toot,
Which fails to catch on in the crowd:
Alas, none care to follow suit,
Feeling more wretched than proud.
They are an orchard without fruit,
A traveling circus sans a clown,
A tree without one grounded root:
A population without a town.
To Be Continued
Erik Nelson was born in Madison, WI, in 1974, grew up in British Columbia, Canada, as well as several states in the United States, before obtaining a Masters degree in Literary Theory from the University of Dalarna, in Falun, Sweden; he then taught English at the college level in the deep south of the United States for ten years, before moving to the high plains of Colorado, where he currently lives, lucubrates and works as a librarian.