Jessica Bridge,
spokesperson for a betting company,
shows the “bookies board”
for the possible new pope
“outside the Westminster Cathedral
in London.”
The papal enclave
is set to elect the successor
of Pope Benedict
who has resigned,
unable to carry out the unwritten
order of the empire.
So it has all come down
to this – an electoral exercise
for the man
who must be deemed surrogate Christ?
But Vatican insiders
cannot help leaking out
that all this,
is orchestrated spectacle
of selling the pope
as perfectly holy
to the adoring faithful
who are bombarded
by his abjectness & humility…
Photo-ops of ceremonies that project pomp & pageantry
underlining how weakness
is mistaken for saintly fragility:
But he was a cop-out,
a cynic observes.
He didn’t clean the church
of its scandals,
unlike Christ who whiplashed
merchants turned priests
in the synagogue.
Now, he has retired
to meditate on purity
in a well-appointed abode,
& the multitude,
trained to accept his holified absence,
could only pray for
the corporation of souls
to survive
the senile season of cardinals.

The Bishops
are flexing their muscles
in the hustings
but professing the while
their innocence.
But any political discourse
is virtual religion,
Julias Kristeva says –
so the shift to the game
of empowering the laity
to score for
their biblical cause
barely perplexes
the secular, the reasonable.
They have always sought
to control the souls
with their papal bull,
as if God were lodged
in their holy imprimatur.
How to enforce
the ecclesiastical rule
of blind obedience
& prevail with their human
choice for God’s successor?
As if a black angel
has come down
& conducted black masses
for half-blind fools?

The South Korean woman
“killed herself
by drinking pesticide
in front of a local city hall.”
They had cut off her pension
because “her long-unemployed son
had found a job
at a shipyard.”
Now she has nothing:
The Confucian “social contract”
no longer works in this
modern age…
How could she fend
for herself?
Her son has selfishly opted for a room
of his own?

He has heard news of
the public suicide
& taken note that he himself
is facing the dark, dark years
of toiling like a peon
as dirt-cheap lecturer
where thumbsuckers romp
like the professionally learned.
His bones ache,
the sun in his eyes
has set so damned early.
O Teaching is for losers
& one-eyed fools –
but he is stuck
in a country of charlatans
who barter words
by the gallon.

Words hover in the void –
the unnameable birthed by
delirium as scriveners wrestle with meaning
that is pure shadow of the acceptable.
Signification is a gamble then:
who can trust the speaker
who knows not his neurotic nature?
His desire to conquer truth
that opens up in his discourse?
In his own mind, he has zeroed in
on what is now synchronic, available
to his blind, blind eyes!
It is always a half-truth,
constantly lingering in the chasm
between you & I.
Language can only deceive,
an unstable commodity in the market
that won’t close with the perfect lie.

He wants to be
a filmmaker,
like kids of his generation.
To be behind the camera
& show desire in the narrative
of the real…
The language is the mirror’s
that seeks to cross the bridge
between consciousness
& capital.
O What does he really want?
What is the language
he must construct?
O There is something he feels
to signify
in the phantasm
of his heart’s mind…
What should be
or cut to size:
the story of lives
to make spectators
as if they’re seeing
their own,
the secret tapestry of time & flight,
for the very first time.

He is, in the hierarchy
of low-end bureaucracy,
a virtual peon.
Daily he must repeat his low, low
task of telling kids the rules
of orderly conduct
the prized bureaucracy continues
to exact.
Certainly, he is a cut above
a peasant living in a shanty this time,
a lumpen pushing a cart
full of junk –
Daily as if on cue
he heads back for the “salt mine”
of lecture rooms
heavy with dust
& snot-nosed children…
Could he be no better
than the other guy?
Each to his own misfortune;
underdogs won’t make

the cosmos cry..
O He is a petit bourgeois flaneur
who should never reach
for the sky.

Sabah belongs
to the Filipino people,
the news reports…
“You mean,” the flaneur asks,
as if maliciously incredulous,
“the Sultanate of Sulu is claiming it
on my behalf?
I have nothing to do with it!
The sultanate is an atavism –
this is a time
when royalty should pass away.
O We must be like the British,
still stupidly enamored
with Queen Elizabeth
to personify real history.”
He turns livid
at the protagonists:
clans who claim
as if the lease contract
is signed for perpetuity
& the state that lists
like a rotting wooden ship.
O How the royal family
lives well befitting its own class.
Only the ignorant believers
promised with rank & moolah
will readily die,
like Taliban fanatics,
in the neighborly firefight.

“Don’t ask stupid questions!
Women! Women! Women! Women!
Shaman Dedeheiwa of
the Yanomano tribe of Valenzuela
in Brazil, rebukes
Dr. Chagnon about
the cause of conflict,
contrary to the materialist
analysis that war
“is fighting over material possessions”.
Not in this case,
Chagnon is informed,
“access to mobile
young women”
gives the tribesmen
“reproductive advantage”.
So there it is – some point
that denies Marx’s
materialist economics,
so basic & sexist
as to recreate the history
of human violence
& instinctual greed.
[Life is a perpetual state
of war;
they must stock up
on young warriors
to “murder
& create.”]
Women! Women! Women! Women!
Helen of Troy & the Trojan Horse
give us the epic clue;
all love poems
are merely
rhetorical play for war & sex.

O When he looks at the woman
across the table,
is it a recurrence of theatre
for conflagration & masculinist seizure?

Is this the season
of ennui,
or whatever that is
a pause between human voices
& machines,
but he is at a loss
how this minute or second
can be represented:
like the whirr of the
grasscutter’s machine
that amplifies the monotone
of its mechanical spinning,
the tables that stare
at strangers
with their empty chairs
like yawns in the afternoon
of interminable waiting –
for what? For whom? –
the trees around the café
that watch like stolid sentinels
& sway to the breeze
that wouldn’t speak
but sigh, sigh, sigh
in mechanical swaying –
O How do you recall the ennui,
this whatever pause
between silence & meaning
that keeps repeating itself
as he sits in his chair
thinking of scribbling poetry,
or whatever passes for it,
is worth all the waiting
in his infinite moments
that may change something…

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