Fainting in Coyles
An occasional letter from the Heart of Euroville
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Tuesday, June 29, 2004  

An occasional series of poems from by Nick Rawson

Ride for Black Gold, Cowboy
in terra ossium

I
Down from Ninevah,
swept with Tigris
to those gardens’
pendant green, lost
global wonder for
bright Amytis, he
the captor built his
Median queen to
console her Heimweh,
high hills of home, an
exile’s solace for Media’s
trees

Till at that Gate of God,
(even He there too?)
Nebuchanezzar, with
invasive insolence, another
in a line of vultures,
crossed Euphrates, behind
him only bones and stones:
his Babylon an infamy, or
history’s cold applause, who
knows?

That road this time
(in this our brevity) our
own ‘they’ did not take
in spite of bribes of $
millions, young Turks’
re-discovered Allah would
not trade: So our conquerors,
their ‘shockn’awe’ well
advertised, likewise vultures
with excuses, greedy for
control and oil

took the South route with
mighty transports from
Chaldean marshes, land
of corpses, through the
sandstorms up to Ur, racing
blind to future hubris, racing
proudly to the kill: from
air, from land and sea, a
western army’s rushed desire
avenging what none truly knew
and still cannot

Logistics’ surfeit, breaking news
for eager watchers, blue screens
flicker, craters, bodies, silence,
screams: an alliance mired
in untruth, flawed by misfit and
unease, slaughtered mothers,
offspring, aged: all soon swelled
the West’s Crusade, onward pals
on roads of torture, fouled with
blind hate’s deep disgrace: as
acts unfolded the Sacra turned
to Dolorosa, more in oaths than
oath our allies rolled to City walls
and burned leaving citizens to
wildly pillage from those monstrous
concrete palaces, from their own

Millennia anguished, O
Babylonia, old terrain
of oldest bones, Torah’s
warnings, Bible pictures,
white-haired weirdo, God
of Hosts, picturesque Sienna
deserts, palmed oases, swathes
of dates, sunken treasures, oil
and myths, dried laments

Old-time comrades, Janet, John,
search your Testaments, their
ancient stories, read how ‘Babylon
is fallen, fallen’ and yet falling
without rest, as the son of Amoz
said, ‘ the whole world’s sick’:
then ask: ‘Watchman, what of
the night to come...?’ and listen
to their ‘sighs of weeping’

II

Yet there no bliss: recall Xerxes,
Alexander, ‘’some talk of Alexander.
some of Hercules, of...’ but leave that,
touch the ruins, dust, recovery and
wreck, till now? This ‘episode’,
a three-week skirmish, heat and desert,
shrapnel, streets, 30,000 dead, years
to come distressed

a blip?
buried in this land of
oil and dates, a history’s
slip, lines drawn in sand
by strangers for their ownership?
This country after Saddam’s
filth still in debt to fates
we made?

For shame, your children,
their smiling laughter, endless
horror, daily slaughter, ever
to remember, nor forget:
war’s but words, blood and
shit, sure never any end to it


III

Ride for Black Gold
on their flesh, Cowboy:
seize the golden egg, the
goose is flown, it’s only bone,
the goose is dead!
Desert is their charnel house,
sand their graves, ghosts
alone for aeons left to flitter
in the ruins and wastes
How many miles to Babylon
....and back? tell us please,
we the sofafolk, (though never
East with West?) Who cares?
Who loves enough, else what
next?
Does not time repeat itself in
death as birth? Answers are not
clear to us as yet, time now
perhaps to expiate

Why worry these old rags in
comfort’s West? Let us attend
our end, prepare our bed:
‘Dieu (nous) pardonnera...’
‘it is His job’: Yet who in
any land deserves such torment’s
weight? The old jew knew such
Schmerz, this world’s long fate

(...in despair, this old note-taker concludes: )

Too harsh this desert’s truth:
I hide behind my masks, old
tales misread, misconstrued,
in a mist, not understood, yes,
forgive:

If their ‘reality’ ‘too much to bear,
(alas these echoes everywhere)
my own more ‘virtual’ than ‘real’.
Offside from birth, I watched,
still peer; no more than in these
jingled rhymes ‘relate’ a view,
doubting any ‘gods’ might hear,
though with others in this global
fear, you understand? Is it too
late? Some note it is.

posted by Eliab | 10:00 am
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