Truth or Consequences

  1. One day a woman took me down
  2. To a stream to smoke
  3. Then up a hill
  4. To a plain
  5. Where we walked an old road
  6. German tourists were soft in the distance
  7. We reached a city built into cliffs
  8. Beside the sun an eagle
  9. Unfurled and stayed
  10. And I stared at it for an hour beside the woman
  11. Not knowing her yet or myself
  12. Another day she took me to a town
  13. Called T
  14. Or C where pools
  15. Of water stand along the road
  16. She stood me
  17. In warm water there
  18. I in her speedo and she
  19. In somebody’s shorts
  20. The square trough
  21. Dark with minerals
  22. Was dark with them for us
  23. The sun was up
  24. The people were quiet along the road
  25. Giving me the panicking feeling the sight
  26. Of people patiently having fun
  27. Always gives me. Then
  28. All of a sudden
  29. I saw jerky
  30. A curtain
  31. Of jerky spread
  32. Over the world
  33. I blinked and blinked into it
  34. It was jerky veined with white fat
  35. No matter where or how I looked it was the center
  36. Of all I could see
  37. Why do visions of beef keep on
  38. Being given to me was my way of saying
  39. Fine then, lord of my heart, even though
  40. I am not a bovine woman
  41. But rather a chipmunk or rat
  42. A raccoon on a good day
  43. My lord god said nothing. The jerky continued to spread
  44. In my eye. We have to get out of the water now I said
  45. My friend, a seer and wise woman, agreed
  46. We got in her car
  47. The sun started to talk to me
  48. I was in such a state of submission
  49. Jerky makes a cross, Ariana, he said,
  50. Between fire and water
  51. Air and earth
  52. As the middle of the animal
  53. Is both a medium and a center
  54. An X of substances and methods belovèd by me
  55. He said that cattle
  56. Belong to him and that when they’re dead he loves
  57. To touch them with his heat
  58. As he loves to touch all that lives
  59. And dies
  60. Inside the cow it is a place
  61. A cave red with light
  62. As where men and women lit their early fires
  63. To draw pictures of herself
  64. At the center of this place is an invisible X
  65. That marks the nothing out of which real things occur
  66. To put this another way
  67. The wooden post at the center
  68. Of the peristyle may well hold up the ceiling
  69. But really it is the staff of Mercury
  70. Down which spirits slide like firemen
  71. To mount thee
  72. The secret of dried meat
  73. Is my love for it, said the sun, above
  74. And beyond your own
  75. Cattle are pulled by the sun, he explained,
  76. Who is himself pulled by the cattle of heaven
  77. Thus the human is meant to follow the clatter
  78. Of cattle over the earth
  79. It is simple he
  80. Said, as anyone could know who
  81. Knows how to read the book before
  82. Her eyes. The people follow
  83. The cattle. The cattle follow
  84. Me. The dog forsook
  85. The wolves to be with thee
  86. Which is a mystery
  87. Of love
  88. At this there was a pause
  89. All water follows the moon
  90. Who is a woman who follows
  91. The earth who is also
  92. A woman with fire in her belly like you
  93. Ariana. I felt it, the fire
  94. And the water in me and the salt
  95. Of my longing and didn’t deny it
  96. Of course you know, he went on
  97. That the wood is beloved
  98. Of the fire that bends its back in ecstasy
  99. And the air even when pale
  100. And cool in mild cascades
  101. And ionic colonnades
  102. Of ascending negation
  103. Keeps you and keeps you as best
  104. As it can
  105. You and your firewater in mild
  106. Poses as information panics morosely and jocosely through you
  107. Are the lodge into which I have put my black stone
  108. And I love you
  109. To keep it hot where you are
  110. Ariana,
  111. And by your nature
  112. As best as you can
  113. What do I have to do I said
  114. You don’t have to do anything he said
  115. Why do you always think you have to do something
  116. I don’t know I said maybe
  117. Because I’m a girl. That’s
  118. No excuse said the sun
  119. Just have fun. Yeah sure
  120. I said suddenly feeling envious and macho
  121. I do have fun I said
  122. Not enough he said
  123. Fine I said I’ll have more fun.
  124. Have more he said
  125. Fine I said, Dad,
  126. I’ll have more fun
  127. If my tone annoyed him he didn’t
  128. Show it.
  129. I love
  130. To touch the cow
  131. The sun said (again). I even love to touch her bones
  132. I whiten them in my perfect heat
  133. I sweat the last milk from her dead tit
  134. And make a sacred saddle of her skull
  135. Which when you take it up is an instrument
  136. By which you can know me and love me if you like
  137. To whenever you want. So you do
  138. Want me to worship you I said
  139. Only if you want to he said
  140. If you ever feel sad or confused.
  141. I want you to know the sun went on
  142. That the earth’s back is lonesome
  143. And sore for the massage
  144. Of the hooves of cattle
  145. And when you get money
  146. Here is what I want you to do with it.
  147. I said, When I get money?
  148. I thought I didn’t have to do anything.
  149. How am I going to get money?
  150. You said to have more fun.
  151. I know what I said said the sun.
  152. Have more fun. When you get money—
  153. But how will I get money I said
  154. Ariana he said you are starting to sound very common
  155. When you get money, treat yourself right and then
  156. Buy cattle and go in the night
  157. To the plains with them and leave them there to go
  158. Whichever way they want to go, and then get
  159. More money and return with more cattle in the night
  160. To that place and to other places
  161. With accomplices
  162. Who love you and know my light by you
  163. And combine your money with theirs
  164. For increase of purchase
  165. And put the cattle out in the nights where the moon shines my light
  166. Enough to silver their horns and shimmer
  167. Their coats again and again as they walk
  168. The muscle and hides on their shoulders and hips
  169. As Johnny Appleseed planted trees Ariana
  170. I want you to plant cattle for me
  171. And for Earth who is a lonely
  172. Woman always complaining in a shrill voice up to me
  173. Though I admit with good reason. I hate the way she whines.
  174. She yearns desperately to be touched in this way
  175. And in any case if she does not get what she wants
  176. I will miss you, all of you
  177. Never to kiss you again.
  178. Do you know what I’m talking about he said
  179. Yeah I know what you’re talking about I said
  180. The end of the world bla bla bla
  181. Well not quite but it’s too complicated to go into he said
  182. Don’t worry I’ll kill all the assholes
  183. I can’t tell if you’re joking or serious I said
  184. Ariana sometimes you pretend to be stupid he said
  185. I know I said I’m sorry
  186. The flesh and the bones of these animals
  187. Has always been mine as the milk and water of these animals
  188. Was thine for a long time and of course by their water I mean their
  189. Sweat and the brine
  190. And dew on their eyes.
  191. The weight, rhythm and blood of these hinds
  192. Is meant for Earth who as I said longs
  193. For them and deserves them.
  194. I get it I get it I said.
  195. Good he said.
  196. As I write you my eyes are round
  197. As gold coins, the left one still goggling
  198. Up at the moon, the right one like the bursting belly
  199. Button on a happy baby though not happy at all
  200. But glad. My secular life
  201. If I ever had one is over