Joe Hall

Slush Altar

 

What is a lamb?

 

Do you take from slaughter? Is what you want to regard

 

Yourself debased by a system of yourself?

 

Why am I riding into the desert with

 

A president’s model head on my head and last call

 

Puke on my diamond shoes? Do I follow

 

The thing rising through time crushed

 

Into tilted soil—shapes lost, material changing

 

The altar a toothpick crane astride a crane on fire

 

And the unlike-me-guy voted from the reality polis

 

By carrion birds with crazy genitals

 

They hate riddles and mystifiers

 

That’s why those scientists nailed you down, you gripped

 

The burning buzzers in each wrist

 

Pilate straightened his tie and asked

 

Is that your final answer? Lord

 

I don’t know what I see: a rat maze

 

Of smoke, the architecture of a tree

 

Bringing to my body what I can know, denser

 

Than a star folding into itself—between two witnesses

 

Distance is the only objective phenomena

 

And aging is a physical experiment each person performs

 

Alone—yes, book, I will die

 

While you accelerate toward  

 

The margins of the universe, a particle of thought, growing

 

Younger, sitting on a powder blue stool, eating Mary Lou’s donuts

 

Unable to grind or contemplate or weep

 

Or let your ass flap in the breeze, unable

 

To add or subtract in the preservation of these slender brackets

 

Writing themselves out in the theatre  

 

Air, the altar—an allowance

 

Of space where blood rusts

 

A stone, a bone fragment

 

A field, the silence of a derelict warehouse

 

Mr. Bumpy Fruit, Mr. Wasteland

 

Mr. Let’s Call It Fallow

 

Bent tool in stripped screw?

 

Little error script

 

Little twisted limb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost Farm

 

And there is a whale corpse sailing overhead

 

And there is its torn mouth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost Farm III

 

Lord, eat your way through me, a pin, a needle

 

A blade of soil twisted into softness widening

 

Threshold, ruptured flame

 

Excess of physical pain, this all in the

 

Game or crisis in the stolen ghost—you scorch

 

The memory of yourself, roll away the stone

 

And don’t care where the virgin copulates

 

With the ulcerated moon—Coneflowers

 

In the crisp predawn wind pulling through the forest

 

Your breath steaming the air, cum on the leaves

 

Rapture of the corn worm in a cauliflower head

 

Mosquito rising to fur—Everything lost

 

Is found, everything found dumped

 

Mother’s queuing to take their sons’ bodies down

 

In the stone cavity, among the discarded shrouds

 

Gazing offscreeen, the moths

 

All up in my clothes, smeared across the inner-windows

 

Trying not to follow an apostle’s red eyes, see the trees exploding

 

Through the blinds, the lightning stripe of abstraction

 

Dividing the forest then green now black

 

I drive over the same dead possum every day this week

 

I burned it many times but still carry the altar with me  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shrine Vow

 

Our Lady of Brezje, Mary of Orante

 

You were prayed over twenty-four hours, in shifts

 

By clerks, a Dunkin’ Donuts baker, the vice

 

Pesident of an insurance company’s regional branch

 

Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Mother of Good Council

 

Blessed Sacrament—You say, yes

 

Let us come closer, antlers flowering

 

From our heads, more bones to crash and tangle

 

In the journey to the stable

 

In Bethlehem to calf a suicide—We come closer

 

In that climb—You say, lets get married

 

Up to Calvary, Queen of Missions, Good Voyage

 

Our Lady of the Catacombs

 

What is marriage? The hand that carves you

 

That pulls the thread through your gown

 

Of translucent golden Algerian onyx

 

A solid block weighing 5,000 lbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a beast descending from a satellite

 

 

 

 

There was a red slash in the name of the sky

 

 

 

 

There was a deer with no skin singing on the carousel

 

 

 

 

There was a crown, There was a crown, There was a crown

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