READING TITUS ANDRONICUS IN THREE MILE PLAINS, N.S. - Jeremiah Eames Rankin Poems

 
 

Poems » jeremiah eames rankin » reading titus andronicus in three mile plains n.s.

READING TITUS ANDRONICUS IN THREE MILE PLAINS, N.S.

Rue: When Witnesses sat before Bibles open like plates
And spat sour sermons of interposition and nullification,
While burr-orchards vomited bushels of thorns, and leaves
Rattled like uprooted skull-teeth across rough highways,
And stars ejected brutal, serrated, heart-shredding light,
And dark brothers lied down, quare, in government graves,
Their white skulls jabbering amid farmer's dead flowers -–
The junked geraniums and broken truths of car engines,
And History snapped its whip and bankrupted scholars,
School was violent improvement. I opened Shakespeare
And discovered a scarepriest, shaking in violent winds,
Some hallowed, heartless man, his brain boiling blood,
Aaron, seething, demanding, “Is black so base a hue?”
And shouting, “Coal-black refutes and foils any other hue
In that it scorns to bear another hue.” O! Listen at that!
I listen, flummoxed, for language cometh volatile,
Each line burning, and unslaked Vengeance reddens rivers.
I see that, notwithstanding hosts of buds, the sultry cumuli
Of petals, greatening like the pluvial light in Turner’s great
Paintings, the wind hovers -– like a death sentence -– over
Fields, chilling us with mortality recalcitrant. (Hear now
The worm-sighing waves.) Sit fas aut nefas, I am become
Aaron, desiring poisoned lilies and burning, staggered air,
A King James God, spitting fire, brimstone, leprosy, cancers,
Dreaming of tearing down stars and letting grass incinerate
Pale citizens’ prized bones. What should they mean to me?
A plough rots, returns to ore; weeds snatch it back to earth;
The stones of the sanctuaries pour out onto every street.
Like drastic Aaron’s heir, Nat Turner, I’s natural homicidal:
My pages blaze, my lines pall, crying fratricidal damnation.