War Elegy 2b (After William Everson)

War Elegy 2b
(The Lottery, January 23, 2019)

In our end time,
the days of pre-casino capitalism behind us
against the cultural tinnitus
nursing connection to non-local mind
we seek to release all not surrendered
the old blurry demarcation between I and not I again
and with whatever skill we wrenched from the bloodline
sit in life’s poker parlor no longer able to bluff.

We find we’re the ones
must reject the failed religion of nationalism
its one dimensionality
embrace a more ancient authority
stamp our allegiance to Gaia
in heterotroph solidarity
denying all complicity with militarism
its complete lack of compassion, imagination
it’s phony projections, torture, empire,
its endless violent occupations in
every sinister manifestation.
We who, facing the fatality of choices
the seeming futility of faith (surrender)
in this faith-challenged age find,
as our ancestors did, the indestructible
will rising through sloth.

And each in their room
finds a way to breathe deep
and let all others breathe
rejecting the stench of white supremacy
ready to compost the concept of “American Exceptionalism”
while combating our own penchant for letting greed,
materialism and cheap desire run our lives.

We breathe in these rooms
where a sangha has our back
keeps us surrendered to that which is real,
which does not rot, see the error of blank checks
for war planners, hope Gaia’s reckoning can be postponed
until the next generation can emerge from the mountains
of debt under which we’ve buried them.

We wait in these rooms and pray, breathe consciously,
shake off toxins / recalibrate each our own unique
mechanisms of perception, retune to compassion, to the
divinity of imagination and the frequency of Om.

We can hold out no longer in these cubicles
and think the neoliberal lottery will land us
back in the black. We’ve seen the promises of capitalism
kick us again & again, so we imagine something just
& keep alive in our right minds the non-violent actions
can will these would-be strongmen back into the hells
of their own design and into which they’d imprison children.

Now in these waning days
of action could save a habitable biosphere
find the courage to resist the plunge back
into the male amygdala, realize we can be more
than reptiles endlessly idling automobiles
with right action / respect for all life
giving freely/freely giving time & money
in loving kindness to all
living things everywhere
in the kind of oneness from whence we came
& to which we’ll return faster than we can ever possibly know.

Paul E Nelson
3:17pm – 1.23.2019

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) in Seattle, the Cascadia Poetry Festival and the August POetry POstcard Fest (PoPo). www.POPO.cards. He has published a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger) and American Sentences, a book of 17 syllable poems drawn from the first fourteen of his 20 years of daily practice. The tenth anniversary edition of that book includes Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia. He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets (see: https://paulenelson.com/americanprophets/) has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Bothell, Cumberland, BC, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois, Ukiah, CA, and other places & writes an American Sentence every day. www.PaulENelson.com
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