Overheard in an upper room, before the police came.
1. Song for all
Dark is the room and dark is the wine
and the dark is fine when it whimpers in the cup:
“innocent blood betrayed on the vine”.
But the wine-bibber knows how the cup is cruel,
how the blood-dark wine always blurs the lines
from down to up in daylit minds.
Sweet is the wine, sweet on the tongue;
sweet is the drinkin’ when the night is young
but bitter in the belly when the friends have run.
2. Chugging song
Come now, sing now, happy tunes
and drink, drink, drink — we’re in our youth.
“Fool, fool, deliberate fool:
can you drink the cup?
Or will it drown you?
Down, down, three times down,
take the triple-bath, play the triple-tool.
Fool, fool, deliberate fool…” (repeat)
3. The chorus comments on the bastard
Dark is the night when the moon is thin
as a weed-worn sickle, weary twin
of the waning son. Bastard-black
shades the lone-tree shadow over sheol-crack;
falls the moon-sick shade so sack-cloth sad,
so sack-cloth weary, so sick-moon mad.
Swing low, mean reaper, from heaven’s rim,
don’t mind the dark, no need to see,
swing low, swing free, and you’ll reap him.
Cold are the forceps, cold to the bone,
cold is the baby who comes alone.
Fate haunts the bucket beneath the chair
where the forced child floats without a name.
Some pots to honor, some pots to shame.
All: Some go to heaven, some go to hell.
4. Hymn, before we go out.
Dark is the womb, dark the wine
and the dark is kind when it giggles in the cup
but the wine-bibber knows what awaits the fool
cause the sweet, dark wine always stains the line
any sane man draws ‘tween down and up –
but the fall headlong through the wine-dark pass
is the way from the room, blood-slick path:
take the triple plunge in the garden pool.
If the wine-bibber knows that the world is cruel,
why leave the womb, why be the fool?
5. Rap-aria for the ringleader.
When gargoyle wind whipped night-dark waves
and wet his feet, he wept in grief
till we struck sand.
Then I split fish so he could eat.
Sure, I’d befriend his wet-feet fears
yet I scream wild before he hears.
How sharp he tunes the others’ ears.
So, sleep in the womb, sleep till the time
of the midwife’s tapping at the midnight door.
So sleep, old friend, go sleep some more.
6. Lament of the first-born.
On a senseless night I go out alone
to escape the shriek of a herald bird,
to escape the truth of the torch’s spark.
Damn that cock, and damn the fire.
I have lied the lie, I have got the ire.
I run out alone, into outer dark.
I have left my cares among the lilies.