Twelve original poems by Jason Frank
I don’t know, but I’ve been told
The streets in Heaven are paved with gold.
They wrote that in the Holy Writ
When Italy was paved with shit,
Mud and blood and bricks and bones.
Now it’s mainly cobblestones.
How hard, I wonder, could it be
To conjure up Eternity
Beyond the reach of urban sprawl?
My Heaven has no streets at all.
Around our light a little moth
Went straight from his cocoon,
Circulating in a swath
As men once did the Moon.
I think they think electric lamps
Are patterns in the sky,
And so the tragic little tramps
Get lost and wonder why.
At any rate, they view our race
As terribly titanic—
Lords of Earth & Outer Space;
And when we swat, they panic.
I wish they knew the truth of it:
That we were merely elves,
Kinetic tricksters tightly-knit
In orbit round ourselves.
He’d ask me where Polaris went
And (if I might remark)
I’d say we flood the Firmament
Because we fear the dark.
BLACK AND SILVER RIPPLES OF THE SEA
(The Turn of the Century, Volume I)
It is said the musicians aboard
The Titanic acted purely on instinct.
They had plenty of time to pack up
Their violins, bid the piano farewell
And join the dampened aristocrats,
Yet each went down with the ship—
Not as fraternal fanatics who pledge
Allegiance to broad steel planks,
But a priesthood of condolences,
Improvising a requiem.
There would’ve been a moment,
A pinnacle of harmony perfected
At the summit of fatal suspension,
When starlight waltzed upon
Black and silver ripples of the sea—
And that stubborn vessel
Swollen with decadence
Might’ve appeared from the lifeboats
As crisp as an ivory gull—
As if Earth herself had written
A poem, and Blake had engraved it—
And there, riddled with iron splinters,
A whale rising to breathe
Might’ve suddenly succumbed to
The bittersweet sorcery of Bach,
Squinting beneath his barnacle crown—
And the music would’ve lit the Moon,
When all at once the Twentieth
Century bowing to the iceberg
Paid its debt to gravity
And went screaming
Into the abyss.
ALL IS VANITY
Jesus said to His
Was the Mother of
All Invention till
Satan fell and got a job
(The Turn of the Century, Volume II)
From canyons of steel, it was
Clear (despite the smoke)
This one smoldering
Laboratory would prove
Are worth failing for.
By the rocket’s red glare we
Made our solemn vow:
Recharge the machines
And refuel with a vengeance,
Inhale sweet exhaust—
Lay bare thy candied
Lungs to quicksilver incense
And vapors of light!
Christmas comes early
With American Express,
Bright Age of Mirrors—
The slate will be cleaned;
A Millennium is born!
The anthill survives:
Neon corn syrup—
Super Bowl Sunday,
And the Bill of Rights.
Think thoughts if you must,
But they’ve tested the water.
The water is fine.
THE FERTILE CRESCENT
“It’s coming home to die,” I thought,
The scourge of all Creation—
Limping through the wrinkled rot
Of man’s imagination—
Stumbling; slouching, if you will—
A schizophrenic Beast
With long-predicted blood to spill
Across the Middle-East.
Like salmon from the ocean
Gone to spawn in winding rivers,
A strange, magnetic motion
Grips the soldier while he quivers:
Drained of precious fluids
Now he cries out for his mother—
While congressmen, like druids,
Bow their heads to one another.
The salmon lays her eggs and dies.
The circle won’t be broken.
She gives her flesh to fertilize
The forest as a token.
The cedar trees of Lebanon
Grew once as thick as wheat—
And lavender in Babylon,
Where ferns would brush your feet.
Perhaps the planet wants them back
And hence, the mad propulsion—
Flipping through the almanac
Of suicide’s compulsion.
We made this desert, after all,
To satisfy our Bronze.
One day the Pyramids may fall
While Krakatoa yawns.
Chicken of the Sea
On kamikaze currents
Coming home to roost:
Winter curdles to
A noxious Equinox, but
Hey—my phone still works!
I should say something
About cherry blossoms, but
Belongs in the root
Cellar, down among these dead
With pale, desperate eyes
For a light once rumored to
Pierce the limestone wall.
Old habits die hard—
A stray cat licking his wounds,
Blood on the pitchfork.
Thou slayer of whales—eat your
THE EARTH AT NIGHT
How fierce and pestilent it seems,
When captured from a satellite—
This rash of incandescent dreams
Across the fevered Earth at night!
Old enemies who radiate
In ultraviolet unity
Have risen to inoculate
The darkness with impunity.
The Marxist and the Monarchist
Affirm at once their dedication
To the Fiber-Optic Fist
Of humanistic inflammation—
Behold! The bright sardines atwitter
In their cubicles congealed
With a glut of global glitter
Have ironically revealed
East and West, like Yin and Yang
Resplendent in their civic pride—
Sending spiders out to hang
Atomic webs a world-wide!
With peace like this, who needs a war?
All nations are imperial.
The suburbs are a mildew spore.
But who am I to fuss and frown?
We nature poets haven’t time
To put our walkie-talkies down,
Or even try to make it rhyme.
THE AGE OF AQUARIUS
(The Turn of the Century, Volume III)
I dreamt of something lovely
In a naughty sort of way—
A stately, pillared palace
Underneath a brackish bay
Where alabaster balconies
Embossed a battered reef
With strange, exotic figures
In precision-carved relief.
You’d think it was Atlantis
By the architecture’s look,
For barnacles encrusted
Every crevice, crack, and crook.
But no, it was a vision!—
Mother Nature would arrange
For bottom-feeding slugs to eat
The New York Stock Exchange!
Jason Frank is a small-scale organic farmer, hunter, and bird-watcher
from Minnesota. He was kicked out of college for telling a politically
incorrect joke. He realized the world was about to end in 2007. Nobody
wants to publish his poems.
Straight Talk About Climate Change, Thursday, 6 February 2013, 7:00 p.m., West End Cultural Centre, 586 Illice Avenue at Sherbrook, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
The Next Step: Living Courageously in a World of Transition, a 14-day seminar, 12-25 March 2014, Izabal, Guatemala, Central America. I will be included with an otherwise-excellent group of facilitators for this remarkable two-week experience.
The Next Step: Living Courageously in a World of Transition, a 7-day seminar, 24-31 May 2014, Moho Creek, Belize, Central America. I will be included with an otherwise-excellent group of facilitators for this remarkable one-week experience.
The Next Step: Living Courageously in a World of Transition, a 14-day seminar, 12-25 June 2014, Izabal, Guatemala, Central America. I will be included with an otherwise-excellent group of facilitators for this remarkable two-week experience.