Remembering formerly fallen nations, Proud behind their wampum walls and calumets, Never dreaming the sea/lake wild Rice or the forty pound blue & yellow forest turkeys would vanish Over the rim of time’s hoop, I read familiar voices in the daily hieroglyphic: ‘Persian Gulf Earthquake’ crowds ‘City In Space.’ An Indian queen falls, dictatorial prophet’s Daughter, row upon row of Chinese farmers Pass buckets of water hand to hand To save the winter wheat. (The narrative breaks apart, A poisoned gene.) Advance of mongol hordes, PCB’s conquering the Hudson, economically Worthless striped river bass lashing in a trough, Senate debate over rat tumors & aerosols, ‘Russian Warning.’ (More & more people, In a small item inside, building homes Far from cities and their salient catastrophes.) & I recall a last letter from Stefan, who escaped The Mekong War dated Kamloops, B.C., seven years Ago: how he listed all the tools scattered about him Where he built his cabin; adze & plane, saw & Hammer, weight of the nails he was pounding; That, a signature, nothing more. Or two years before that, taking acid By the shore of Big Bear Lake in Southern California & the first fear, the no escape from Swelling, death-bound planet in the chest, & then the colors in nothing but light Streaming among pine branches Stunning us, making us part of ripples On the wind-driven water & the brute Clouds of darkness formed above the pulsing trees. Or how a grey-blooded war in television Asia Made such holiness seem an insane novelty Rotting in our blood as we tried Staying high above our own lives On alcohol & drugs, sex & hatred, Racing through beachtowns the night they bombed Tonkin Bay dreaming in a beat-up Jaguar Of pure lands of highway stripe & crashing Waves, with no Christ or Marx, Freud or Plato. But what’s a body to these forces? Or a life in memory? One night we went out with our friend Frank, Who worked in the county morgue, & saw, down a long row of glass jars, The lungs heart & brain from an old jeweler I had killed In a traffic accident. & the mysteries of time & death With its trail of nations & men Passed over us, & we stood there, Before the jar, drunk & stoned, Arms about each other’s shoulders, Swaying slightly, side to side.