Cantos XX-XXI by Teg George

Canto XX



you were darker than me—black Irish

I guess and I knew nothing about you

what you wanted to be or how you


wanted us to be yet it seemed as if we

were always a little ahead or behind

ourselves—never quite in tune but I


loved you then—sometimes I wonder

if I love you now but you’re probably

married like me and in love like me


at least that’s the picture I’ve painted

in my mind because I’ve never forgiven

myself for turning from you you who had


my hands and feet tied as your slim waist

was tied to mine but that was years ago

with that lace around your head you


could have been mistaken for the Blessed

Virgin and when we drove past the British

Embassy you would blow the car horn


say “I don’t hate the English but they hate

me” each season your English friends

visited DC they jibed joked and expected


you to laugh along at their Irish jokes

incestuous Republicans and evil Leprechauns

why’d they even flirt with you as O’Hara


says “Lust springs from the bowels” and I’m

afraid of this little knot grown large in old

age and I hate/love to go to the PCP


who gets a finger in there tiny time bomb

spurts blood while every expression of my

faith falls because it’s all been translated


you see from a native tongue and you might

get it but their land is rent—meadows bathed

in green liver—people turned to land


if only you could work your magic

on my grimy soul—you know when you

weren’t around I chopped white lines


on an etched gray mirror then lifted it

and sniffed—my heart rattled like gunshots

along your Shannon trotted as if it would stop


and my eyes crystallized into glaciers

needles pricked my skin—a vase of tulips

slid across the coffee table when I glanced


away the vase moved back then on the phone

we talked about blow jobs but I didn’t think

it was flirting until I remembered you and Essex


tossing one-liners you teasing him clearly you

can revive me as easily as you float to me

paddling our boat on the black river that gurgling


river that swallows us whole—you let him kiss

you and I tore the bar apart for that for that I kicked

wine crates into booths smashed glasses


and creased one door jamb with my head hair

left in its cracks and blood streaming down

my face “not real blood” you say of course


it was red wine exploding from brain to wood

you would drink it if you could—the kind

of love we used to laugh at others for


when I rang your phone all night long because you

said the kind of love you have we had you used

to laugh with me now you’re laughing at others


and you said the phone ringing ringing ringing

you thought I’d do that and knew it was I

on the other shore so you laughed with the other


all night long because it was that kind of love

and that kind of river—I could never have been

like him and his Soho world trapped in Freud


sleepwalking with no memory of night or moon

swinging itself high over the wide river where

its shimmer makes one swoon for love maiden


head let me stay if I make it mine no law but our

law tobacco yellow knuckle not bruised a glove

no hoe no red eye rock wall singsong all signs


pointing to our ancestors who watch grin hold

each other and sing and stifle with bright cries

but who am I I could cry into the snow


for years efface myself drift through the night

bus stop to bus stop with nothing to shield me

and I could never be your equal your son stolen


your person non-person how small my life is

compared to your struggle and how the snow

must have clung to you for warmth what love


could have cured—the whiteness says P. Cavalli

“I pretend to wait for you to enlarge the minutes

and you do well not to come” you know


when Mussolini took Rome he named his accession

the Year One being myself here now whiteout

yearning for another self much more a location


to cradle it we could have been different and every

time that other me emerges I beat it back and cry

when I do—you cry too if it will help you


says G. Teskey “the potential for the imprinting

of schematic form in this substance rests in two

interwoven constraints” down silent catacombs


like sleepwalkers two abreast with no memory of night

you can’t wake me never could—originally it

wasn’t sin it was boredom a genetic defect


inherited from Him—bored with His angels He made

us then the angels got jealous got even but even Adam

was bored with Eve and Eve with Adam so bored


they forgot to eat life ate knowledge instead

which of course doesn’t cure boredom but only magnifies

it—hence God was bored is bored will be bored


now and forever with men so I stuffed my snout

with menthol swallowed a bicarb ate Bayer so my head

wouldn’t swell rubbed baking soda on my gums


then massaged them with coke and through my bloody

nose air smelled sweet as morning dew on the uncut

prickly beards of graves—through the radio’s static


four priests buzzed like Invisible Beings and I heard

equatorial plains simmer faceless ambassadors square

off ships jammed at harbor ogling masses


wheat rotting in the fields and on the docks so I filled

my mirror again and listened to our enemies

on the radio bellies flinched oil dripped from tank


muzzles drenched the sugar beets until in a nice mirror

ice bled down my jaw and four priests proposed

that faith hadn’t any grave since raptured ones fly


whole to heaven even after the bodies are decapitated

worm ridden fouled by cancer each to each they kiss

and rise to a new world new life and us missing them



Canto XXI


What I have written I have written.

                                                --John 19:22


Don’t touch my shroud

Capture the Holiday Scent clove

Don’t touch my shroud

cardamom mother Old Spice

My touch My fingers—the creases

along my knuckles—I remember

My hands My arms— the thin black

hairs and two small moles above my right

wrist and the valleys of my elbows


Abraham says “Sit while

I sharpen heat for your mother’s

heart” She leans in the light as steam

climbs Mother’s face over mutton glows

Better Ways to Scale a Fish skin a cock

Roses will still pierce Snakes strike

You breathe icy wind along my skin

False Choices prerogative through choice

I freeze in your blood—a river of wine


You beside her spiders all in a row

Non Serviam no surrender no sub

mission no prisoners no resistance

You will not be Saturn and she will

not be Mary and I will not be Adonis

They will not be Kali—fall down

No one is without sin:  the same light

falls on all and both are tarnished

by air:  all have sinned and fallen


How can anything so common shock

the conscience of mankind How can

anything so human fall out

These Are Times That Try

Men’s Souls blah blah blah

Why the feck did he add an e

to pain:  Tyranny like hell

is not easily conquered blah

blah blah women’s underdrawers


I have as little superstition

in me as any man living blah blah

blah BF’s endorsement not withstanding

Short of the glory of god:  Let him

who is without sin be cast in stone

Judge not lest ye be judges

There’s a still in the holler bring

a bottle bring a jug bring a cup

Cora has a hand in it Fall UP


Blessed are the poor in spirit

Blessed are the hungry for they

shall be fed Blessed are the sick

The pretense of innocence that no

one was injured in pursuit of lucre

that dollars and donuts are holy

For they shall be healed Blessed

are the weak for they shall be made

strong Blessed are the meek for they


have two ees Innocents has 2 + 1 ens

like nano [pretense of curing multitudes

with] technology with loaves

with fishes if n + 1 equals infinity

up equals the following sequence:

azure assure azzuro assurance

shall inherit the earth As it shall

be done to them let it be done

to you Protect the widows and orphans


Simplify the doctrine of 4 squares

Find the Pythagorean Theorem

within the circle a square triad

Visit those imprisoned in hospital

Love and cherish the unlovable

Honor those who dishonor you

Symmetry with two ems like mimetic

The pretense of simulacrum Pretense

of cloning Pretense of past tense


See the lesser and raise the latter

so that their victory will be yours

so that all are above the fairy

within the Vatican Library the letters

correspondence of saints heretics’ dogma

like a shopping list for Satan

Memories of the Temple’s seven gates fall

They have no anchors and move

in the wind Memories of the Beautiful


Gate stand upon no bearing wall

They flap their load in the wind

Even a small breeze can blow

Solomon’s Porch because it rests on one

pier and cornices hang off themselves

Shingles of the Royal Porch cover it all

from mitered joists to lintels from posts

to crossed string lines and sills to case

ments and sash To handsaws bartered


for nets—spare hip roof furring strips

Memories of the Three Courts glide away

Roof’s sheathing has leaks Balustrade

is weak and wobbly Footing cracked

from frost Studs rot Siding peels

Jambs collapse A Stone Rolls

wrapped in swan skins lion heads

bull horns and eagle beaks

over arrows steers horses stars


Forge armor on mountain tops

Bleed and die alone Witnesses lie

Sing the lies Steal the corpses

Soak the skin flesh and bones in tannin

Stuck in peat sons clutched to bosoms

tree limbs [not meat] then stained

glass smeared with chocolate: Holofernes

jittering eunuchs: fabric shaking

like metal or coins held high in the sun:


Cape flowing like a banner Gold braid

sewn into the scarlet’s black border

Sandals kick dirt Sword slaps his leg

Longinus wrapped in red wool and lambskin

Belts and greaves piled beneath the tarp

Crimson skirts flapping on lines hung

between olive trees Shined harnesses

Thick strips of leather Hammered buckles

reflect the flames' fine flicker


Spear of spice-holy-old-warm blend

cardamom mother Old Spice

Capture the Holiday Scent clove

Walls Tile roofs Shutters SPLIT

Tagged back like hurricanes'

quake [not-a-word] She-Wind Mother

“Their tongues will lick His blood

from this hill It will trickle over their

bowls’ brims and sparkle in the sun”


Cantos I