A poem for the 21st century: VISIONS OF THE EMPIRE

A poem for the 21st century: Visions of the Empire By Jon Rappoport I’ve been writing and editing a 6000-word poem, VISIONS OF THE EMPIRE, for the past ten years. Here I present the first section. I may post other excerpts. Poetry in the grand tradition of, say, Walt Whitman may seem to be dead&;and who cares about poetry anyway? But poems are life blood on the page. They have the potential to awaken the sleeping mind and spirit. I cast this one out like a wind across the landscape, with full knowledge that reading anything, much less poetry, is a dying art in many quarters. Frankly, that doesn’t stop me. I know, from 17 years of writing at nomorefakenews, that there are untold numbers of people who can still read and want to read. My articles have found them. Going against the grain doesn’t bother me. It motivates me. Every day. The seemingly absurd proposition that a poem can have a life-bearing effect&;I hold that view and always will. The unbound, wide-ranging, free and electric spirit within us is THERE. We can step on it and bury it and forget it, but it doesn’t die. With that knowledge, and without apprehension, I freely give you this. Do with it what you will. As with everything else I write, I stand on the words. VISIONS OF THE EMPIRE, Part One: This poem is not a warning This is poem is not an alert This poem is not a shopping cart in a supermarket This poem is not my uncle talking about America with a cigar in his mouth This poem is not about the H-bomb This poem is not my grandmother speaking Russian in the Bronx a hundred years ago This poem is not a microwave This poem is not This poem is not a robot car on the highway This poem is not a power outage This poem is not This poem is not a peace treaty This poem is not a shadow across your eyes This poem is not Karl Marx or Mussolini This poem is not a molecule invented in a laboratory This poem is not a political philosophy manufactured in a secret bank This poem is not a machine This poem is not a system This poem is not asking for an answer This poem is not people dying in hospitals even though people are dying in hospitals This poem is not bread or the fountain of youth This poem is not a doctor This poem is not a professor on a pension This poem is not a union This poem is not a dollar This poem is not a major or a colonel This poem is America and not-America The dream America After money was sold down the river and resurrected on a cross of blood After a cash-loaded God strolled into town After the Universal Hospital drugged synapses and drove the wild horses of imagination down into underground canyons and sculpted androids stepped out in the aftermath buying back their own memories geologic wraiths spiraled up inside television sets&; their only ambition to stunt prayers for deliverance and kill raw desire&; we watched wildcats of Texas dripping sweat into their high hats pull black blood out of the ground and send it through tubes of night to porcupine refineries on the shores of the Body of Christ apostles were resurrected in knife-cutter fins of long Cadillacs running hot across the Kansas plains with blondes in the back seat drinking New horizontal towns were multiplying on Long Island, stage flats of perfect geometry coddled in the breasts of hopeful mothers asking for redemption from pill-addled afternoons and hallucinatory music cooking in shining ovens monthly budgets laid out neatly on Formica counters below the knives distant farm fields dead in the snow blank-eyed children walking in the snow cultivating nightmares they would one day visit on Reality I flew over those fields and heard the crackerbox houses rot and rust as nothing ever rotted before We tamed the wolf and the copperhead we broke a pond of ice and sent Promethean serpents to force a tunnel all the way down to the volcanic hats of ancient Chinese poets We tracked mobs and gangs and politicians and drowned them in thunderous secret rivers under the Southwest deserts we launched charges against the bosses and carried our prosecutions into courtrooms of fish eye and coral and waving undersea weeds and dragged paid-off judges from their galleon-wrecked thrones We stood in the blinding sunlight reflected from low slung whitewashed buildings of Pasadena and El Segundo and Long Beach and felt the roar of departing space rockets cutting tunnels through the future and pulling back the future with giant magnets of illuminated dust We walked through measureless windows of wheat and corn growing in the middle flatlands under the warm rain of supernatural mansions We draped curtains of night in the upper hills of Los Angeles where the mountain lion and the coyote and the melted mythical Greek beast roamed like vagabonds free of the Wheel Under poles of yellow lights, gasping midnight locomotives clamped on to lines of freight cars in the backyards of Chicago Plastic lilies grew in the pastures of St. Louis haberdashers and department stores In White Plains we carved a diamond on cracked asphalt and climbed a decaying elm and walked along the iron railing of the fence holding rotting branches and threw marbles down on to Davis Avenue and watched them bounce into the muddy stream of World War Two newspapers and swollen milk cartons and broken whiskey bottles and torn black jackets of old soldiers who had died in snow drifts over the winter and mysteriously disappeared I ran under trees filled with light green inchworms hanging from long threads until I was invisible and glimpsed smiling robots sitting in cafes in the next platinum century In Los Angeles, concrete sunset of three stacked freeways, a carpet of park in Beverly Hills, old poolroom on Broadway downtown, bus to San Francisco, a bum holding out his hand and saying On Venus Jesus will show you machines of love I saw politicians jumping out of floating windows their briefcases cracking open spilling secrets like lazy snowflakes dazzling in the sun trillion dollar thefts naked amazons stashed in condos and yachts banks sucking money from the vacuum of the heavens dead agents in a rock pasture outside Des Moines hitchhiking to New York glimpses of prehistoric time before the beginning before the beginning of sacred money before the first idols were built, before sacrifice was thought of, sly prophets were trying on robes and combing out their long hair and rehearsing their future executions Standing up on a hill past Albuquerque on 66, I caught a ride into a no-name Arizona town, walked in the foggy morning along an empty road to a pine-filled snow-filled cliff and stared out at a spring valley a thousand feet below In blinding rain I stood on the Indiana Turnpike outside Chicago pointed east and wound up in the Pennsylvania countryside driving the car of a half-crippled man with a Bible I met in a Howard Johnson our headlights went dead on a curve and a cop pulled in behind us and stopped us he led us to a fat judge&;s house in the middle of the night where we paid thirty bucks then parked on a quiet lane and slept until dawn early spring in March flowering magnolia trees he dropped two Thorazine and told me to drive and his babbling about Heaven slowed down and he slept and when we pulled into Manhattan he had me park in midtown he looked at me with glazed doe&;s eyes and said son, I&;ve reached the end of the line, this is it, within a month I&;ll kill myself I walked along the astral cloisters of Wall Street among crowds lapping at honey loopholes in a web of proprietary secrets and I flew through steel walls into the psychotic fandango of the international electronic invented money Surge I recorded architects laying out blueprints for the perfect human in bunkers of Virginia where silent factories printed minds whose memories could be selectively erased technicians built new bodies from tendons and ligaments of cougars and predatory owls and membranes from soldier ants and feral dogs I walked through fields of cactus east of Tijuana into caverns of mass graves where sacrificed Aztec skeletons still stank in pulsing blood rhymes of a toothless hobo Ziggurat I sat in the courtroom where the two-hundred-year trial of America labored like a wounded beast, witness after witness screaming accusations at captains of production and dark iron-masked prosecutors hammered their fists on tables and smooth Rockefeller men sat in the witness box and advocated drugging the population One Sunday night I walked out of a small bookstore on 3rd Avenue and a drunken Ben Franklin, wearing his waistcoat and slippers, his spectacles halfway down his crooked nose, pulled me over to the doorway of a paint store, and whispered: “I should prefer, to an ordinary death, being immersed with a few friends in a cask of Madeira, until that time, then to be recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country!” he patted me on the cheek and grinned What about the weathered Declaration on which you staked your honor, your future, your fortune, your life, I ask him His face turns sour Oh that, he says They sold it for a war, and it fetched a handsome price They sold it for a bank, and rated it a fair exchange They sold it for a choking nightmare called the greater good, and it drained their living blood They sold it for a legend of heaven under a burning copper sky and it vaporized in the whirlwind Fifty million video cameras record the washed out moment-to- moment ballet in streets and offices people stop for a moment in a bulging tableau light peers in through immobile troughs of fury complaints are frozen all the children of America with their endless needs are frozen We slashed our way through faded blue Virginia mountain ranges ruled by subhuman priests lizards crawled through the sunlight between leaves on rumbling paragon trees spreading out their knuckles above ground Through dream gardens of the starlit Sagittarius, coral horses, amber-fed lichen we walked the Colorado Cherokee Trail glittering with bodies frozen in the silver fog We flew over steaming cities and freezing cities and came to the Asia plain of tropical magic where the walls of enduring space were cracked and broken and the false curtain of the sky lay at half-mast torn and stained Here the empire had shriveled and small mobs wandered under saturated space broken off from the Maypole of trance We still hear a voice of freedom in the aether now freedom barks like a dog it weeps over stones it demands cash it lies in the mud and croaks flees a burning church…
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Jon Rappoport

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