Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tree Riesener: "Searching the Ruins of the Rainbow for the Angel Who Announces the End of Time"

Poem VII from the poetry suite poems for the end of time
- for Oliver Messaien, his Quartet for the End of Time)

given the momentous nature of events
the announcement is clearly overdue
we must find the angel
it is imperative that we find the angel
yet we are afraid to state our intention aloud

is that the angel peering suspiciously
through a tear in the red-white-and-blue rainbow
draped around her like a broken-promise shawl

or is it that one walking gingerly
over the fragments of glittering cathedral windows
where the rainbow fell and crashed
in the flood-and-corpse-soaked ruins

or is it that one whose name is
holding a paper with his name in cold fingers
whose wife coaxed away to live a little longer
looks back at him like a weeping mother
dragged away from a blanket-wrapped child
left along the trail in an unmarked grave

until death do us part she whispered
we only said until death do us part


perhaps someone held the angel down in the flood
shall we dive into the flaming water
what is that fire 
is it the burning bush
or is it sunlight
bouncing off
submerged pools of urine pus and blood

shall we take off our shoes and dive in
look for the angel
breathe into her mouth
feel for a pulse
shake the great sodden watersoaked wings
so she can breathe

or should we walk away
and leave her there

if there is no angel to make the announcement
perhaps the world will not end
If we wrap barbed wire around the angel’s neck
attach it to a cement block
leave her in the deepest blackest part of the flood
perhaps another day will come

we will go to work complain
and watch the news on television.

but it would be dreadful if the end came upon us
without enough time for confession for final kisses

better to wake the angel
wake damn you wake damn you wake