North of Tulsa, in the Prairie Falcon’s winterland,
Nature for her Dust’s known, her Wind nail-hard,
Passing thru this Weathered Bowl, Night crept in,
Shadows rose –– Beings long Deceased, Blue-Jeaned
ghosts –– a generation complete, American.
How bad, I realized, they must’ve suffered –– Parents
burying each other’s Immemorial Fright.
Gone the Wild Asters, six or seven feet in the air.
James Boys dead. No immunity from old Boot Hill.
On you, Rugged Osage –– Iron Tree of the Plains ––
Antibodies of Broken Men catch hold like feathers
from Birds, lost in Dust Storm Clout.
What narrow-tombed Hotel of black Forgetfulness
is this Dust? This Life ––
Magnolias, how do they blossom come spring? Locusts
know when to Devour a summer’s wheat? Why Fascination
for autumn leaves –– other people’s death?
Why Farmers plant corn –– have nothing to eat but
Thistles & Dust on Judgment Day?
How compare that Dust?
To Karen Silkwood’s plutonium bologna sandwich? Dusty
Hiroshima? With slaughterhouse dust? Orange dust
of Vietnam? Afghanistan Yellow Snow Dust?
Mexico City smog?
Kiev powder-milk? Beijing rat-dust? Dust on banks of
the Nile? The dust I sweep across my floor?
India’s Union Carbide petrochemical dust? Rainbowed
Rings of Saturn? Fish-strangling Smokestack ash?
No immunity. Children, on red lilypads born, die
in their Meat.
No Liberty for Power-Mongers to accord the Weak –– as
Grief’s dark Cloud antibodies Human trials, no
immunity in Cowboy Repo Gang ––
The president will get the Television Penalty. Everyone
will turn off their Sets same moment & he will disappear ––
to his Antibody wed.
Thus, Antibody marries Nature –– issues Sister. Brother.
Issues Electraoedipus. Amnesia. Issues Death History Pain
War Madness Love Poetry Grace.
Of those Universes confined to Mortal Frame –– no immunity,
all Bodies. Names. Fly Dust-Bowl bound ––
The signaled Dreadful Track of April 14, 1935, from
Dakota to the Rio Grande ––
New Mexico was shrouded black,
Arizona thought the End had come.
Oklahoma, that she’d met her Doom.
Families huddled in one-room shacks while Cattle smothered
in hay-stacked barns.
Fields & Highways –– beneath mysterious rippling Ocean
Dust –– even Jalopies sank.
Better to die than’ve never lived, go back to the People.
No immunity from Soups flavored with worn Belts.
No immunity for the Outlaw. The Page One journalist.
Best young Center in the NBA.
No immunity in Boom-Towns. Space. In igloos. Courts ––
fear of Man is like a weed, a Dandelion on the
Road down which none return.
At Treblinka, it led to the “Infirmary” –– an Assassin’s
bullet thru the Neck.
In America –– it breeds the Death Machine’s Identity ––
No Scarlet Dawn unveils its Face. No antibody is embraced
by Diamond Holy Dust.
Is there no Doctor in our House dares go back to the People?
No immunity collecting Bottles. Cans. Baseball Cards.
Depositing checks in big Swiss banks.
No immunity in Presidential Sandbox –– how many bodies
land-filled there? Polished Boots? Silent dumptrucks
full of Ears?
Let go Denial –– no cock-pit automatic, Dunes of Araby,
Military Mainframe Underground –– no Antibody there.
Lives past no less Real than Yours. No less Primitive
this Time than What Will Be.
Resent Man-Kind –– you shit in your pants!
Lay down your immunity –– Go back to the People –– comes
the Dawn for every I to mingle with the Dusty Plain.
Lay down Futile Rage –– Go back to the People ––
better to live in Creation’s embrace.
What Trust we lack, Future Men require –– more tender
Hope from one another than yet we know.
Go back to the People! –– Antibody’s message sent ESP
via Pyramid of Light, to dispel Insanity’s darkened
Angelic Rhythms High & Mild pierce Steel-Armed Memory’s
I have felt the Great Dust Storm, seen my incomplete
O Broken Wings –– I go back to the people, & in the
God-Language of my Plainsmen Heart
There speeds a Prairie Falcon to all who suffer.
24 March 1987
Spoken word version (altered) from The Road (The Abolitionists).
Copyright © 1995 by Rudy’s Steakhouse Music.
Text from Grassland (Writers & Books Publications).
Copyright © 1994 by Jim Cohn.