Verse XXIV, Night Vision
by Tammy Vitale
“I want my Name.”
What he sees is made of red scales and
blue fire. In the distance he thinks that he can hear the
crickets sing and then the wings of something large
and deadly stirring air which smells faintly
of burning sulfur. Bright disturbing laughter
drifts by on a sunbeam too small
to break the surrounding gloom.
there is no breath taken
“What Name? What game is this you play
with me? I have nothing that is yours!
You have mistaken, misread, misunderstood
the meaning of my words!”
He has grown large, spinning ’round himself
so many tales I cannot recall how he once
looked and have forgotten that there
was a time
we called each other
both family and friend.
“I want my Name!” and what he hears
is hiss of siren, snake and beast
rising from darkness he has chosen
to dismiss. He cannot see for sunshine
blindness, cannot hear beyond
the buzzing of some static interference,
communication lines broken and misused; and what he
smells is full of old and mold and danger
and the acrid stench of his fearful sweat
dropping onto ancient stones
smoldering with anger, sizzling with steam.
by Louise Gluck
comes into the world unwelcome
calling disorder, disorder—
If you hate me so much
don’t bother to give me
a name: do you need
one more slur
in your language, another
way to blame
one tribe for everything—
as we both know,
if you worship
one god, you only need
I’m not the enemy.
Only a ruse to ignore
what you see happening
right here in this bed,
a little paradigm
of failure. One of your precious flowers
dies here almost every day
and you can’t rest until
you attack the cause, meaning
whatever is left, whatever
happens to be sturdier
than your personal passion—
It was not meant
to last forever in the real world.
But why admit that, when you can go on
doing what you always do,
mourning and laying blame,
always the two together.
I don’t need your praise
to survive. I was here first,
before you were here, before
you ever planted a garden.
And I’ll be here when only the sun and moon
are left, and the sea, and the wide field.
I will constitute the field.