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Page 33

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i celebrate the old warrior at death's
door, lips pressed cold to the wet lips
of earth, earth like paradise, earth like
release, the old warrior, who was not
always selfless, not always brave, who
was not always perfect or generous
but who understood brotherhood in
his bones and fought for justice, not
for gain, and for the triumph of liberty,
certainly not to extend man's dominion
over men -- played for a fool by his nation
sometimes, used by selfish men too --
the old warrior, tired now, beyond the
grave but headed there anyhow, what
else can a man do, nobody understands
anybody these days and nobody will ever
vote for him or follow him over a hill
again -- not yet finished with this thing,
not quite at the end of this long poor
journey, unsure of his footing and this
worst of all passages, eyes fixed on a
target few of us see anymore, dim, dim,
slipping stone by stone away from this
thing they once called honor, heavier
than riverrock, and yes his shoulders
failing, and yes what is left of his white
hair falling across his eyes, falling like
heaven or snow falls, or artillery fire.

  George Wallace__


'  the little goats dance before the slaughter'
   after Graciela Iturbide

men of carbon, men of flame, old men
all of them, lived fast enough for some
and too slow for others, fast in the slow
lane slow in the fast, now they sit in their
pickup trucks it is morning, they're drinking
coffee, dying slow, slow on the bayou, the
company knew how to manage these men,
their wives knew how to manage them too,
how to keep a foot on a man's neck like a
gas pedal, keep his engine running in good
weather and foul, but they're used up now, may
as well dump used men like these into the river,
like lead, like mercury, the river is dying anyhow,
no man fool enough to pull a fish out of water
like this, it'd kill you, tho what's one more death
in a place where there's so much death -- brown
fish floating in a dead man river, old men idling
in the parking lot, floating -- a blue tortoise lumbers
across the road it'll be roadkill soon, that species
been dead a thousand years nobody bothered
to tell it, nobody can tell the old men in the bayou
anything about anything either, global warming,
species extinction, dead dreams, dead dicks,
they are slow, they are confused -- useless!
they are lost in their blind shells, at least the
company knows what it is about and companies
are people too, in this century they are, ain't they,
with dreams and appetites and intentions, not like
old men, though they were intentional once -- now
they're just old, not worth fattening up for flames,
they have had their day, now their day is done.

  George Wallace__


the preachers lie buried
in their graves, quiet
at last, so too
the politicians
in cemeteries
neat and wild
overcome by
the unrelenting
tangle of weeds
or silenced in
military rows --
this churchyard
defiled by fractious
teens, that memorial park
guarded by uniformed
men, perfect! --
perfect as a
manicured nails;
perfect as the
ruins of a roman
church -- and the days
of garryowen
are not over,
and intolerance
is still with us
therefore when
the bells ring
and the bugles
sound the
emblems of
church and state
will be raised high
on every available flagpole
and the old soldiers
will claw at the soil
for air, and curse
the powerful men
who told them to
fight or to pray;
and new soldiers
stand ready to
take their place
in dull columns

because the arguments for intolerance
and war have yet to be silenced

you see? do you see?
here in this turning soil?
here they lie, buried, buried
awaiting resurrection,
here in cemeteries neat and wild,
waiting for the day
the misrule of religion
is finally put to shame,
and the blood-lust of nations
is laid to rest

  George Wallace __


The depression dragged on didn't it but
wasn't it splendid to be wearing lavender
and white whilst the Newport crowd sailed
in -- the little princes cursed the Germans,
hoorah for America & most of us agreed
those were the good times wasn't it very
clever and rare to be rich when the rest
of the world was suffering so - o! the Gold
Coast was casual, I got a little little drunk
there was a rumor Cole Porter was going
to come i didn't see him but Dorothy Parker
played croquet, you danced with Benchley,
and o how we laughed when Harpo chased
the children across the lawn spilling long-
ways into the Sound

Later we walked lazy along the beach all the way out to the point

You can see Connecticut from here you said

You wore Lindbergh's hat he was furious you didn't care

  George Wallace__



It was a visit of short duration, young
Mussolini stabbed a classmate's hand
while Marinetti cheered, the future of
Europe was bright, any night in the red
light district a cut purse waited for victims
in a halo of fog -- more deadly than that
chlorine gas was being released in the
trenches of Ypres, there were deathmarch
partisans and human shields, the third
Reich was the third Crusade (having
plundered Iconium emperor Barbarossa,
son of the first Duke of Swabia and his
wife Judith, blessedly drowned in the river
Saleph); nine elderly gentlemen (average
age 90) from the Hermann Göring Panzer
Division #1 would one day be sentenced
to life imprisonment having slaughtered
140 civilians in the Modena region -- as
I say, a visit of short duration, asking each
passenger to tell his or her story

'The countries of Gaul were civilized
and wealthy until Julius Caesar made his move'

'The church doors of St Mary Magdalene
would not swing open, so the abbot-commander said to kill them all,
all the Cathars, the Lord will know his own'

Then it was my turn

I had no further business in Verona, I said,
the translations were done, the streets of
Verona rolled by in slipperyfog, incense of
rain stroked the cobblestones like a leper's
hand; there was no time to visit the balcony
of the Capulets or stick chewing gum on the
face of Juliet, so I walked through shadows
to the Chiesa Santa Maria Antica to see the
grave of Mastino II, great Lord of Verona,
a man of dubious character, conqueror of
Brescia, Parma, Lucca, Lombardy,

Mastino II, entombed among the Scaligeri on Via Arche Scaglieri

Mastino II, bullmastiff of Verona and head dog of the dynastic state

Mastino II, laid majestic among the Roman ruins,
riding in full armor atop four marble pedestals on the turret of his
own marble tomb, also surrounded by marble

  George Wallace__