Robin Blaser: Two Poems from *The Holy Forest*

from Streams II (1986-1991)

As If By Chance

the Private Sector worries me
it can, the ubiquitous 'they' say, solve -- that is, clear up --

the economy, which, at the upper level is called economics -- that
is, confused science and confused theology prancing around
together as usual, is under the cultural, like oil or gas
under the hood or roof, and unpredictably disappearing from
under us

and the political, which, by manipulation, is over the stunned
polis, in order to manage production, distribution, and
consumption of wealth, becomes political economy -- thus,
what is under becomes what is over, and vice versa, to define
realities without earth and sky which are cultural habitudes

and the cultural, which -- not limited by high, low or middling --
is conflict around the creation of reality, and may be
invisible as thought is, and is neither formulaic -- bonded
like chemicals -- nor nostalgic, which is a dangerous and
transcendent condition, having forgotten that transcendence
like ourselves is historical, even in dreams

and the social, which is a struggle against dominations and powers
the society of which is recently made up of those who were not
previously there

and mass culture, which is new, misunderstood and ungenerous
about historical consciousness, mirrors privacies that dis-
solve in soap, and is jubilant, from which sorrow may

and democracy, which is recent, unAthenian, unPeriklean, in-
complete, and by nature unstable and creative

and the sexual, which is the passionate body of all chemicals

and our ethos, which is the behaviour of one to another, near and
far -- many to many defines character -- and is visible -- not, as
the dictionary tells us, 'the moral, ideal, or universal ele-
ment in a work of art as distinguished from that which is e-
motional or subjective' -- [WOW! dissolve that and ethos becomes
possible action -- character for the sake of the action -- and
pathos is there among kindnesses]

and the universal, which is absent from twentieth-century thought,
according to poesis afoot

and technology, which has wild arms, and is human nature unaware
of itself

and the angels, who became isms and hierarchies in order to im-
materialize the real things we're thrown up against, as we
become startled sub-jects -- to which I ob-ject

and religion, which, dismissed from the plane of thought,
gathers godhead in small envelopes of cement, whereon
the postage changes

and human survival, which, with its adjectival ironies,
proposes a social inheritance

and the good, which we know as Goodness! an expletive,
something added to fill up the whole that has nothing to
do with it, and which is fragile and our own composition

and love, which is true attention to whatever and sometimes
some one

and friendship, which is guidance in every attention

the Private Sector economizes hither and yon, as it was
a past participant in bereavement and deprivation, as it
is now a relationship between privies with the exception
of an infinitely distant point, as mathematicians
say, the world as such, says Castoriadis


from Notes (1994-2000)

In Remembrance of Matthew Shepard

How sad I am. How sad
this violation of the existential
given and Matthew's song --
another debt of this indecent
century -- what is to be said
about this hideous traffic
in religion that has taught
blasphemy for centuries
against Jews, blacks, aboriginals,
women, Gypsies, and homosexuals
everywhere. 'They' put on Jesus-shoes.
He never wore them.
'Their' sacrifices to hate and hell.
There is no more to be said
about God, except the infinite exposure
of our finitude that 'they' have taught.
Love arrives as a promise.
Every particular love is Love,
dear Matthew. How love shatters
when they stopped your song --
the shatters in which we trust.
Yes, the philosopher said: The glorious body
cannot but be the mortal body itself.
What changes are not the things but their limits.
It is as if there hovered over them something
like a halo, a glory. Dear Matthew.

October 1998.

from The Holy Forest: Collected Poems
Blaser EPC Page
(C) 2009 Estate of Robin Blaser. Used by permission

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