Two Poems by Arthur Gottlieb
who stand their ground,
shake jowls No
to juvenile pleading.
pick themselves up
by the roots
to find a family tease
Others wait in the rain
for the ruined parade,
with its brass and half
flown flags to pass.
Some guns go off on
their own, masked, rob
banks, hand the teller
a demand note, to fork
over the dough for dinner.
Back of every teenís
recollection is the pig
who made good, brought
home the bacon, binged
on a bet, and left
with his X still standing
at the altar.
Auto Da Fe
In the Star Chamber we showed him
the light, but pain screwed his eyes shut
and he failed to see
how the sun circles the earth.
He knew what was at stake
before the rack broke him.
Yet, with thorns of sweat trembling
his smile, he forgave us our innocence.
Palms pressed in prayer
we sang for his heretic soul
as we fed his flesh to the fire.
But suddenly his spirit, excommunicated
from everything we ever held holy,
rose in the wreath of smoke.
Demons leaped from the flames
and pitch forked me into his inferno.
Under my monkís robes blisters bubbled,
as if we were brothers and his bad
blood bloomed in us both. When his
bones crumbled to soot, I hopped
and howled like St. Vitus dancing
on a bed of live coals. My anguish
was mistakenly taken for cries of joy
witnessing evil gutted upon a stick.
Now I must confess we two are one,
roasting that day in the selfsame flame,
only I am alive, fuming in my furnace
of righteous rage, while he, senseless,
takes delight in the devilís eye.
Somersaulting somehow, we go round
and round, body and soul embraced forever
in a hoop of hellish revel.