Saturday, October 1, 2011

Horsemen at the Temple

1. The Second Horseman

The red horse dawns on the appointed day.
Silence juts an arachnid face beneath the steps,
jaws and arms weaving a muffled cocoon
where the cries are stilled, the daughter
of destitution silent.

The crowd congregates for prayer at the end of the street.
When the letter explodes in the enemy's hand,
they invade a child's sleep and kick
the breath from her toy of desire.

Profit and loss gauge corporate recrudescence,
the corporation lens recording our self-deceit
and transmitting its unholy bidding
to the margins that define righteousness.
A cancerous hand registers defiant despair.

The red horse wakes the cicada from its seven-year sleep.
Water pocks dirt in a rainless desert
as jungle fires raise suicide tribes
who pray to Coca-Cola and ITT.
The house of the wind crumbles in chemical decay.

When the red horse rider greets the night
seeking fleshly light, political palms
itch for his grammar of the ultimate word.
The crowd trembles and grows meek.
The red horse is a oneness for which the many seek.

2. The Third Horseman

"A day's wages for a quart of corn, and a
day's wages for three quarts of barley, but
do not tamper with the oil or the wine."
-- Rev. 6:6

When the third horseman comes to town,
we spit and cough blood.
The fields are deep, dark and plowed,
but we do not sow this year.
He says to grow factories in the fields,
and to burn the jungle.
"Take out the oil and the ore,
and you will be rich like the North."

When the third horseman comes to town,
the horse neighs with disdain
at the holes in our lungs.
The women who sew all day crawl along
the walls of the streets at night
with dead eyes.

He has a lean and handsome face.
The young girls dream of him in our embrace.
His lips fill a hunger between their legs.
Heaven's gate hears his prayer.
He is pure and good, hard and without mercy.
He loves revenge and destroys good and bad.
He is not like us, but we can be like him,
like Rambo and Clint Eastwood with a gun.

3. Temple of the Apocalypse

"The greatness of man even in his lust,
to have known how to extract from it a
wonderful code, and to have drawn from
it a picture of benevolence." -- Pascal, aphorism 402

The pale rider carves thin bones
Into masks of sorrow.
Old men do not argue with math
When children and their games vanish.
The village is dying with blood in its
guts and prayer in its hand.

In the Temple of the Apocalypse,
the corporate evangelist walks with angels.
He reads prophecy and weighs each verse
against the balance sheet. The code
he unlocks is a virus in death's economy.

The old men swat flies and rock in the sun.
They do not know the equation of finality,
and they will be judged for blindness that sees
only village ghosts on the old paths.

This discourse with oblivion is impotent with rage.
For biology is certainty. The pale horse
will dig out the eucharistic offering from our chests,
compare need with resource
and plot the collateral damage.


I posted this at for a prompt on mythic characters. I guess it depends on how you think of myths and mythology, and then consider whether the biblical book of Revelation is myth or something else altogether. Please allow me a bit of poetic license then, if you must. Needless to say, I do not consider the sacred book a literal rendition of how things will be at the end of the world.

(c) copyright 2011 Charles David Miller. All rights reserved.

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