POEM—TRIPTYCH: ARMAGEDDON

Writing

1.

standing on the broken summit of the hilltop

surrounded by his disciples

the mad prophet rants

feet planted in hellfire

head spinning in a fever dream

hecklers come to laugh at the crazy-eyed fool

in the death-dusted robe and the halo of pity

who is overstepping set bounds

scorn for a man who does not know the limits

the sky shatters

opens great cracks and rends in the clouds

that slowly reveal the night sky

disciples chant at the insane stars

the hecklers inch back from the frenzy

the mad prophet opens his eyes

hear me

he screams at a world

that for him is coming apart at the seams

hear me

he shouts at the lost sheep who cower about him

i am god!

a tear opens in the sky

allows passage for a searing bolt of lightning

a moment later an acrid stench and a rumbling echo

the crowd slowly disperses

no praise for wind-blown, smoldering ash

2.

now there are more

and the light in their eyes is a secret shade of madness

the hecklers scoff from hidden places

hesitant

not sure if the limits matter any more

afraid that the boundaries have been forgotten

in place of the death-dusted robe

a legion of uniforms

gold buttons and blood-stained medals

the halo of pity has been thrown to the wolves

and the odds have been evened

thousands of turrets

and shafts and gleaming barrels

that catch and splinter the sunlight

banks and rows and bunkers and stockpiles

all pointed bristling at the sky

that say

more eloquently than words

we are god!

fingers poised over switches

punch down in savage haste

all the sounds of destruction fill the air

the machineries of war clash

tangible grinding against intangible

the oceans erupt in their rocky basins

the hot lands shake apart

the walls of the world tumble down

the walls of heaven fall away

and nothing left in either place

3.

a cockroach struggles up

through ash and rubble

and decaying layers of the past

it breaks through to the surface

stretches to full height against the pale red sky

looks about with slow comprehension

says in a small brittle voice

i am god?

there are none left to refute it

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