August 30th, 2010



The sorrow of his blood upon her lips
Salome lies crushed under many shields.
Each of her tears, each drop of John's blood yields
rich vintage. We've learned from mad girls with whips

that passionate destructive wild despair,
heard from fanatic men words that inspire
to cast our lust and toys upon the fire.
Dressed only in dark drowning waves of hair

Whores and ascetics lure us into trust
Force us to lose ourselves. So Salome
And John find in each other in Wilde's play
An end where death is intertwined with lust

and fate so close that if you pull apart
their vines and briars, you'll rip out your heart

How poems happen

Nicholas Blincoe questioned on my Facebook page why we take Orwell so seriously, and as I stirred the porridge and tried to frame a reply it came to me, as so many things do, as a poem.

George Orwell

He is the patron saint of being there,
showing us how the silence of stopped clocks
echoes loud as the ticking that it mocks.
Saw the bright patterns dust makes in the air

when you are bleeding out. He praised the true
notes in good prose, saw how the oily thud
of cliche poisons thought. Lying in mud
and dust, he fought for Spain, and wrote war new

Betrayed by comrades. Essays are the best
of him, precise and clean. They are worth more
than anything in 1984
which only warns. They are the weapons chest

that helps us fight - and fight him too when he
Stops questioning, becomes a certainty.