Fing's Perdition : Part One
  One's journey goes a certain distance
  When a path appears to be a web.
  To be content in such an instance
  Would seem like halting the tidal ebb.
5 There are so few means to one's assistance.
  The first step is the one we most dread;
  No single strand can support one's ambition,
  No direction appeals to curiosity,
  No reason can surmount the fearful vision
10 That pride has positioned into apostasy.
  All around the spiders of excision
  Threaten to put cease to our velocity,
  Yet the duty to vocation reckons
  To propel us forward, despite our wishes.
15 One has no choice but to be beckoned,
  And to taste the bitter as delicious.
  Still, I sat for an ocean of contemplative seconds
  And I meditated upon the oily, viscous
  Feeling of this muck of indecision.
20 I tried to hold it gently in my hands,
  The fabric of my life so tawdry thin,
  I had no power to resume a graceful stance
  Against the buffeting winds of adversion,
  To speculate and gamble against chance,
25 When one did come before me I well knew.
  Furrowed mottled sorrow on his brow,
  The passion of my apathy flew.
  Yet he was some ghost before me now.
  His eyes were as black as the sun is blue.
30 I kept no doubt abiding anyhow;
  Beside my empty contemplation, he held
  Out the calloused softness of his palm.
  Not smiling but seething a strength I felt,
  Exuding both a vulgar and divine calm,
35 The man could not be pelted with insult,
  And so his apparition caused no alarm.
  I: "Sir, you are both humble and exalted.
  Please tell me how it is you've come before me."
  He shook his head as if I could not be faulted,
40 Mistaking him for someone with greater glory.
  He: "Son, please do let your wonder be halted.
  For I am not a martyr in my story."
  "But sir, you are emblazoned on my money!"
  And I reached inside my purse to verify.
45 I showed the bill and coinage, he said, "Funny,
  I always find the need to clarify
  That even as I do not pray on Sunday,
  To no religion of myself can I testify."
  I: "And yet you stand as representative
50 Of ideals which good citizens may pursue.
  I know you need to be modestly tentative,
  But coyness on your part wouldn't be true."
  I was trying his patience and being inelegant.
  "I offered my hand, where I could have withdrew."
55 Pleading, "Sorry," I said, "I just can't believe it.
  May I ask you a few simple questions?"
  "I am Lincoln, young man, can you not conceive it?"
  I was afraid to respond with further investigations.
  So I put out my hand and stood up to leave there:
60 "Do you know a way out of this vivisection?"
  "There is no way out," but he grinned and he snickered,
  As if he was aware of what was to come.
  I looked as his unblue-unblack eyes flickered.
  He: "But you must better know what has gone.
65 For in this desperate state you have been snookered.
  You very simply don't know what's been done."
  I wavered slightly at his abrupt suggestion.
  I learned, despite my teachers, all I knew of truth.
  I bought no lies, have always been an exception,

Who dares to tell me what I must pursue?

  Incredibly, it was Abraham Lincoln.
  He noted the labyrinth of my thought, "Forsooth,
  Who taught you to always so depend on yourself?
  Be patient, I will show you what human can mean.
75 By this manner you may experience yourself;
  Your part in the whole." He convinced and we proceeded
  Along the thinnest strand of the web, which felt
  As if it were as wide as the open seas.
  And which reverberated with every step.
80 In motion, but supporting our motion as well.
  I might have been the length of an insect
  Quivering on the kissing breezes swell,
  Or the very wind itself, the path was set
  Before us like the telling tolling of a bell.
85 I followed, unbelieving of the import
  But hungry for a good story to tell.
  I thought to summon up some witty retort
  But, by a strange misstep, my guide fell.
  I took his wrist and helped raise my consort.
90 Quoth my uncle: "Good thing it wasn't a well."
  I looked at him, but then we reached the gateway,
  The sign on the stile, 'Here is morality."
  The path appeared to continue straightaway,
  But that is not what it was in reality
95 For the structure of our steps faded away
  And we both dropped down immediately
  To the first level of the passages
  Through the red hallowed annals of history -
  In the life that we lived as the hostages
100 Of the rationally disciplined mystery
  Of Ben Franklin's most loving adages.
  And I was scared at what I was about to see.
  He: "Do not stray from my side, this blankness
  Is only the will of the other.
105 I tell you in all understated frankness,
  As if you were to become my brother,
  You must let go of your lankness
  And remember that you have no mother,
  Other than the one who brings us together."
110 I: "But what are we about to see here?"
  "A graveyard of promises strewn with heather.
  What has been left behind is held most dear,
  And as easily retained as ether,
  While the vacuum of that space is filled with fear.
115 Do not be afraid of the vacuum, young man."
  But for scarlet liquidity and heat, the vacuum
  Was all, I could feel it in my cast-iron frying pan.

I was penetrated with sweat and my rectum

  Loosened in anticipation of Satan's imminence
120 My guide seemed in need of no diction
  To read the flash of fear's imagination
  Upon my confused visage. He shook his head.
  Said: "I trust you not to panic in action.
  Nothing that you can see will make you bleed.
125 Do not allow yourself to be shaken in passion
  Here at the beginning of a journey to the dead."
  I barely said "The Dead!" when a spuming fountain
  Of regurgitation appeared before us
  In the form of a gelified, jowled man
130 Whose bile reeked of the acid odor of
  Self-Deception, of the lie writ large on foul land
  He barely could speak for his esophagus
  Was gushing an endless flow of noxious chunks.
  My guide stood and waited with patient command.
135 The third:"I am the gatekeeper." The phlegm and reflux
  Kept him from speaking, but he waved his hand -
  Muttering "Mommy, Mommy," as piles soon built up -
  As if to tell us to wait for him; it was hard to stand.
  He stopped for a moment and turned to us with a grin
140 "Ronald Reagan, Mister Lincoln, nice to meet you."
  My Uncle did not hold out his hand, but kept his chin
  Held to his chest and his brow remained dubious.
  As the Old Biffer began to chork again,
  I needed to question my guide, whose fury was
145 Well-contained in the cross-pins of his felt vest.
  "I beg you to hold your questions just now, my son.
  Here is a man who is nearly beside himself."
  He waited silent 'til that greasy pate was done
  Sickening up his lungs. I smelled his bilious belch.
150 I had to stand up straight after that one,
  And speak up to say, "Why are you here?"
  But my Uncle chastised me, "Mr. President,"
  By ignoring me and leaving me to fear,
  In the manner of the child most innocent,
155 A further venting of his frustration later.
  His scowl and reproach were without precedent,
  In the mild justice which righteousness bestows
  When tempered by the ideals of free institutions
  In the glance of a man who you know who knows,
160 Having named the decisive ideal in crystal distillation.
  "Is there any sort of formality for us to go?"
  Reagan's breath scorched our eyebrows and even
  Caused my guide to turn his head and catch his wind
  "All are free to pass through here, none are in need
165 To offer justification," he said, "For their sin."
  My teacher: "So are the keepers of the breach."
  A belch: "I stay here until the next comes in."
  Myself: "Then why is it I should hold my speech?"
  We commenced walking as Reagan endured a dry heave.
170 "You are the equal of everyone you see.
  You must allow them to be what they are to be.

You must let them play their scene and leave.

  Please hold your tongue and test what you believe
  In the silence of your own conscience." My teacher
175 Did not look at me, but kept up a stern pace.
  "I'm at your service, but I'm not delivering
  The answers to your questions. Instead you must face
  The very shadow of your quivering
  And acknowledge the strength of its force and its weight
180 Even as you attempt to stem its shivering,
  When there is nothing there for your body to hold."
  I thought for a moment and said, "I don't get it."
  "If you hold your peace you may discern some gold
  Among the fool's stones and the sickening vomit."
185 I knew better than to assert anything bold:
  "Show me the way, Uncle. I will be honest."
  We came to a red door which bore an inscription:
  "Forsaken." My guide: "Even if this is true,
  You remain of the earthly anthropomorphification.
190 You are not one of the elected to be strewn
  Into the hell of this bureaucratization.
  Have no fear of the words which you are shown."
  We entered a simple door and sat in an office,
  The like of which one might see in a lobby.
195 But all about there flew a plague of locusts

Such clouds that I could hardly breathe or see.

  Certificates hanging said 'Herbert Hoover Insurance -
  Registration required and Be Seated.'
  The line behind us extended for hours
200 And I perceived a mounting frustration
  As is if I had it within my powers

To know the stress and knotting tension

  Of those hungry masses crowding in the Bowery,
  As if they knew that there was no cessation
205 (Of their stomachs as aching hollows)
  To be found as they waited for assistance
  Which would not be forthcoming tomorrow.
  I felt deep ignobility and indignance,
  The very face of which was creased and sallow,
210 Rumbling through the guts of a mob of resentments.
  After as many hours as have four score
  And seven years, a round but haggard man appeared.
  We were all starving and ill but Lincoln forswore
  To hassle further this mole in the veneer
215 Of a rotund man who could not see further
  Than the dusty whiskers of his squinting sneer.

"I believe," extemporized my avuncular guide,

  "That we are free to pass by this office." "Oh no!"
  The spongeular, homogenized president cried,
220 None may pass without registration." "But though
  We have been here the hours of years, you try
  To exert your influence against the overthrow."
  His round face tilted over his round body,
  And a bead of sweat dripped off of his nose.
225 "I've got the guns and the numbers, so nobody
  Gets through this office without one of those."
  The light was so red and my head imploding
  With the hunger of famine and wasted plows,
  I did not see the paper before us, a legal
230 Document, indemnifying said agents
  For services rendered, requiring signatures
  Prior to embarkation. My guide read the contents,
  Took a pen from his pocket and served imprimatur
  For a further broadening of our horizons.
235 Hoover's vacuum of eyes went out like they pulled a plug
  And there was nothing. He mumbled some and grimaced.
  He rubbed his greasy pate and jumped when the water jug
  Bubbled up ominously. He looked like a man flummoxed,
  Dammed up inside, condemned, and unable to shrug
240 The liquid weight of words which were heard as promises.
  I watched him and thought to call his attention
  To the lines of thread-bare souls who were waiting,
  Whose lives hung on their bones with the same attenuation.
  I: "There are more who come after us." My guide,
245 Who had undivided, with his will, a nation,
  Interjected: "So we will be on our way, thank you."
  Sweating he turned back into his office and more
  People took our places and the line slithered
  As we passed wordlessly through the door
250 My leader cast glances at me which were withering.
  I remembered then what he had told me before,
  I should be listening and not blithering.
  And a vision blistered through my consciousness -
  A dream as I perambulated-
255 Of this man being born a Kentuckian

And then to Missouri having emigrated,

  Where masters and slaves were the lay of the land.
  I did see a nation devestated.
  And he had not spoken. Divided union I scanned,
260 Where brothers kill brothers with limbs amputated,
  War ceaseless between them, each of them damned
  To cursing revenge on the other, whose mother
  And sister were raped by the brother, who will
  Always avenge for the sins wrought upon him.
265 Complete I saw millions of maimed and raped and killed
  Who might otherwise be of service as lovers
  With soft hands whose beards are anxiety ridden,
  Whose kisses might be shared as generously
  As the ballistics which rip the forests to shreds.
270 The man beside me was a savior as venerably
  As the souls macheted, dying septic deaths
  In the fields and cities of the land of liberty,
  But unique in manner and words and sense.
  My silence was now the only prerequisite.
275 I could not even interject mindlessly
  As was always my most exquisite
  Pleasure, in polite intercourse with society.
  When I was most empty, I was most expressive
  And so I got on fine, until finally
280 People started catching me up in my lacking.
  Lincoln would have to be one of those types.
  But at thirty-five, one might begin relaxing,
  And when in such company, who, without hype,
  Proved himself at the level of the most exacting,
285 It was necessary for me to stuff my pipe.
  Which was much less easy to do as we turned left
  Down the hallway, found the door marked 'Dissolution'
  And entered to discover behind the desk,
  Shaded ethereal red in florescent diffusion,
290 Who shone so brightly from the deserts of the west
  Across the screens of so many in need of illusion.
  Three youthes, as if they had never died, greeted us
  With shine emanating through their welcoming smiles,
  "We are pleased you are with us. You may be seated as
295 Your paperwork is processed through the archival files."
  The woman spoke first, sadly, sultry and baited us
  With baleful sighs, "I hope you can stay with us for a while.

Things get interesting here in the evenings.

  Somebody's always coming over with some wine.
300 We have a good time, even when we are working."
  She giggled and one of the young men sang
  With a southern twang, "I recognize this gentleman.
  I'm sorry, but may I ask you to sign?"

He pushed a clipboard and pen over the counter.

305 "Yes," said the other, with more space in his voice,
  As if he barely contained within him the power
  To hold back the wide windy plains of his soul's choice,
  "Mr. President. What brings you into our bower?"
  "This young man is journeying to better know his joys."
310 "He's not so young," said the rebel in the red jacket.
  The blonde woman cooed, "Nor does he know where to find joy."
  The southerner frowned, "I ain't never seen nothing like it."
  And I was made to remain silent and poised
  As these icons pondered my fate. I was too attracted
315 To the woman, at whom I could not be annoyed.
  Helpless as ever with these stars before my eyes,
  I could not speak across the vastness, nor reach
  Over with my sympathetic, pitying sighs.
  She would never be mine, though I might beseech,
320 Though I might strain my throat with heavenward cries.
  My guide surmised my wonder and turned to teach:
  "Each and every night this trio of angels dies.
  Recollecting all that they are leaving behind,
  Fully aware they betrayed their promises.
325 They weep and they claw at their eyes, which are blind.
  They intoxicate and metamorphize
  Into fears which drive the clocks to unwind."
  "I overdose on pills and alcohol."
  "I drive my car into a telephone pole."
330 "I have a heart attack in the toilet stall."
  "No one can love me but for my hole."
  "No one can see that I'm an empty shell."
  "No one can see I'm not king at all."
  "So they die," said my friend, "With no one to save
335 Them. With nothing but what their emptiness gave them.
  No intercession to deflect them from the grave.
  Nothing but pity for what might have been when
  They first gave themselves to the crowds of waves,
  Before they became what they couldn't sustain."
340 "Here's your paperwork, Mr. Lincoln," Norma said.
  I loved her more then than I ever did before.
  And the other two men, I loved them dead.
  And I wanted to give myself to be their whore,
  So they would know they could still buy a friend,
345 Or someone else they could too briefly adore.
  As I reluctantly exited the room
  And went down to the left to the next office over,
  My guide noted the scarlet hue of my gloom,
  Said: "Young man, any one can be a lover.
350 Fewer can actually love themselves and exude
  That love to the others with whom they endeavor
  To make intimate contacts." I chose to remain silent.
  He stopped then outside the door to look at me.
  "You cannot fail, but you must be endurant.
355 You may speak, but you may find words unnecessary."
  "Thank you," I said, for once feeling aspirant -
  To see instead of being seen, impressed me.
  My Uncle pushed open this door and all vision
  Melted and sweltered in a room of wet glass.
360 We had hardly stepped in when fire and adhesion
  Drew us gasping into its maternal, molten grasp.
  I straightened my back and panicked to breathe in,
  Like a bug swallowed in a bubble of amber sap.
  I felt the crystal heat flow into my throat and lungs -
365 Terror in my heart and eyes, Lincoln reached to touch me.
  "What feels like lava, might very well be dung."
  Which didn't make me feel any better, but trusting
  In the prophetic quality of words from his tongue,
  I could not fail, and so wanted to know his teaching,
370 That I ceased to resist not breathing and felt fine,
  Like I had returned to a place previously known.
  I wanted to reassure my friend and guide
  But our movements in the magma were slow,
  And my eyesight was glazed over, though not quite blind.
375 I spoke no words, waited to see what my guide would show.
  There were no walls but the limit of my reach
  And the pressure on my skin. I could not but submit.
  What I saw challenged my belief.
  Floating all around me, in aimless, careless drift,
380 Dozens of bubble fetuses in sculpted relief.
  I wondered how these creatures could subsist.
  I wondered what it could mean that they were here,
  Ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny,
  When I noticed more beginning to appear,
385 And found that they were gathering around me.
  I say, on the whites of my eyes I felt the searing.
  Still was compelled to their praying; my guide stood between.
  One of the children stared: "We've not seen a breather."
  My leader replied, his voice carrying through lava,
390 "Good children, we are not free to stay, but neither
  Have we passed without signing off." "You are supposed to
  Register every soul who enters. Did you see Hoover?"
  "Yes, we spent a great while on that bother."
  Then one child approached me very closely.
395 "Nobody here cares about signing off. We should
  Be presenting the atmosphere falsely,
  If we were to say there was not any good
  In being kept out of heaven most grossly.
  We ought to try to be better understood."
400 "You mean to say that you are, all of you, sinless?
  That you..." I could not go on. "We are the souls
  Who have accumulated from the beginning,
  Who never saw the light of day, but who know
  A world of blood sensations, red illusions,
405 And who must be held away from help to grow.
  There is no elysium. As you can see we are
  Defenseless as gatekeepers." I know not how
  I spoke:"Reagan said he was the gatekeeper.
  And what of Hoover's endless room?" "There are now,"
410 The fetus communed gravely, "More of our weepers
  Than there will ever be of that herd of cows.
  I don't mean to be rude, but they have no grace.
  They don't cherish a world of soft silence.
  The Presidents come here and stir up the place,
415 Upon the dignity of their earthly offices insisting
  That one of their own represent at the gates,
  As if they could be more eloquent than children.
  Satan was somehow persuaded, but then
  They couldn't just choose one." "And what of Dissolution?"
420 "You can't withhold a flood, once the gates are open."
  The child sighed and my guide bade me: "Our intrusion
  Here is done." Without a name or a word more spoken,
  The child floated away from us. My confusion
  Was profound. My guide opened a door and we passed
425 Back into the heavy, spacious realm of air,
  Where sound traveled with weight, I choked on gas.
  Cold and on my knees on the carpeted floor
  "Is this the beginning of the journey?" I gasped,
  As I vomited a phlegmmy placenta there.
430 "For a pilgrim, there are many beginnings."
  My knee jerked: "Hey! I am not a pilgrim.
  I learned that from old friends, never submitting
  Was the highest virtue we could build up."
  "Do please spare me more of your reflectings.
435 All that must wait until beyond the end of it."
  "Let me please ask what sense it makes to place
  The souls of dead fetuses in a hellish mire."
  "There is no answer to that consideration."
  "Who sent you to take me into this fire?!"
440 I pointed angrily at him who smiled in my face.
  "I am free to respond, but I fear you tire.
  You let your emotions flare like hot dry grass,
  With the sun baking down, in the summer
  In a parched desert landscape waiting for rains.
445 You can't escape the spark which starts your burning up.
  That is to say young man - I am here to sow the grains -
  I cannot make them grow." "Thanks for summing up
  Your duties so succinctly." A sense of shame
  Overtook me as I let sarcasm boil
450 Itself into a quick and shadowy vaporous veil.
  My Uncle waved his hand and I saw no scene
  My eyesight was covered with a cloudy sheen
  Which flickered in red in a hail of flame.
  His tone was not ominous, but he spoke directly:
455 "Your intercessor is she whose love you most admire.
  And if you asked, she said that she permitted me
  To offer this display as the badge of her desire."
  The hail of flame changed to rain and I felt relief
  From the penetrating heat of the undying fire.
460 "Her request is that you give to your host the utmost
  Of your faith." I: "I will." And the rain vaporized.
  The furnace of the earth resumed its work to toast
  The souls of those whose wills had froze to sample-size.
  Ready to continue our helicular motion,
465 I still wondered for whom this hell was corporatized.
  My guide was ahead of me and turning left again
  Down the hallway, he said: "Your Lilica will show
  You how to fill in the spaces of your questions."
  "In the meantime I am not able to know
470 Precisely what I am experiencing."
  "You know it even now, but you don't grow
  Merely by knowing. The scenes change around you.
  Other shadows have other stories. You must observe.
  Nothing you see or hear should ever astound you."
475 I could not but consider the love of Lilica
  As the sine qua non of this brazen adventure.
  How could I proceed with other than humility?
  I began to take pride in my noble indenture.
  And the many who refuse to join with me
  Will be left behind with little expenditure.