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REQUIEM : AN EPIC FOR OUR TIME:

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REQUIEM : AN EPIC FOR OUR TIME:
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 Requiem: An Epic For Our Time
                 Part 1 
--Prologue-- 

Let us pray they say for those led astray
For the guards & executioners given orders by the righteous ones
to humiliate & degrade
to nearly drowning a thousand times
telling them they cannot pray
taking away their Holy Books
let us pray
for all the soldiers their souls corrupted
committing unthinkable acts of barbarity
raping & murdering
walking in the footsteps of a thousand years of crusading
we fight for God we are told
Love your enemy no hell kill him
kill them all to end it forever
to purify the world in fire -

thousands hide away in prisons the world round
as the Empire of America expands
needing more of everything -

all the poets feeding their angst
delving into the horrors of history
searching for The Golden Age
finding only illusion
finding only madness
finding no meaning beyond survival -


 Requiem : An Epic for our time
Part II: The Weight of History

ah to write an epic for our time
of the death of the west
as it reverts to old ways
its old fears realized
in a hostile world
peopled by those different from ourselves -

as the west takes the easy way out
selling off ideals for wealth
selling our souls for pieces of silver
selling our wondrous dreams
of freedom equality & compassion
to the highest bidder
bearing false witness
against all who stood by us
when we were down on our luck
avoiding all who saw us
at our worse
denying our past
favoring a rewrite of our history
justifying all we have done
oppression slavery genocide
all in the name of God & democracy
& the triumph of the West -

Forgetting the past remaking ourselves
reinventing ourselves in our arrogance
unwilling to ask for forgiveness
refusing to see our crimes
refusing to take responsibility
for all our misdeeds
refusing to humble ourselves
before our countless victims

knowing our failings
denying our failings
seeing ourselves as heroes
denying the worth of others
denying the dignity of others
becoming what once we hated
becoming what once we feared
as we make our claims to our destiny
becoming the world conquerors
becoming the worlds oppressors -


 Requiem: An Epic For Our Time
 Part III:  Our Deconstruction 

as we day by day piece by piece
rip-out the last bits of our humanity
laughing at the failings of others
laughing at the pain of others
laughing at the suffering & death of others
who are not as worthy as we
laughing at all who wish to do good
laughing at all who sacrifice for another
laughing at all who speak of love & compassion
laughing at all who speak of integrity
laughing at all who speak of honor
laughing at all who speak of tolerance

laughing at all who speak of truth & justice -

praising those who’ve turned lying into an art
praising those who’ve replaced truth with propaganda
praising those who only live for themselves
praising those who use others as stepping stones
praising those who only live for pleasure
praising those who only desire to amass wealth
praising the greedy opportunist
praising the power-hungry who prey on the weak -


destroying all those who stand in our way
destroying all those who see through our lies
destroying all those who dare disagree
destroying all who question our true motives
destroying all who dare not fear us -

Requiem :An Epic For Our Time

Part IV --Wounded Heart : New York 9/11-- 

watching thousands die in an instant 
planes crashing into skyscrapers 
liquid fire raining down on Manhattan 
leaving a mountain of twisted metal 
a memory from a nightmare 
forces itself into our waking world 
replayed a thousand times on TV screens 
& everyone for days on end 
say all the right things 
sitting on a cushion cross legged 
all a tremble trying to be still 
images appear vivid violent 
shatter our repose 
our minds violated raped 
needing to scream 
watching crowds panic & running 
through the shadow strewn canyons 
being chased by boiling grey clouds of dust 
tv cameras catch people as they stop 
in their tracks looking back in disbelief 
watching tears streaming down their faces 
watching our hearts break 
each time the TV replays the horror 
buildings exploding against a still 
perfect fragile china blue sky 
in that moment frozen in time 
leaving us to tend our wounded hearts- 

voices are heard speaking of the horror 
the shock & disbelief 
& a thousand & one cliches 
our language inadequate inept 
fails us cut too close to the bone 
our hearts breaking 
our minds in turmoil 
wanting revenge to taste blood 
to spill someone's blood 
our primitive urges rise to the surface 
our civilized rational selves overturned 
our blood lust over-powering 
& those who call for cooler heads 
need to be patient & keep silent 
til those waves of emotions subside- 

for some it is an opportune time 
to push their political agenda 
to pass on their bile & hate 
appealing to tribal instincts 
appealing to the worst in us 
conjuring up demonic powers 
& magical solutions 
calling for Crusades & jihads 
to last a hundred years 
to protect our homeland 
to destroy the evil all around us 
dividing the world into us & them 
our society slipping into insanity 
to bring on a new Dark Age 
as we retreat into our fortress of fear- 

   Requiem  :  An Epic For Our Time:

Part V- All The Poets Are Gone


All the poets are gone
the people without a voice
Poets driven to suicide
some crippled by a broken heart
some kidnapped off the streets late at night
some silenced by fear
some write verses to praise their captors
some driven to madness
some left in prisons to rot
some disappeared without a trace
like the good old days in El Salvador & Chile
or in the efficient third Reich
everyday another martyr is created
the people left without a voice
all their tears & prayers in vain
no one to comfort them in their poverty
no one to comfort them in their despair -

The people are left without a voice
without a Ginsberg to lead the way
to give America a wake-up call
no Bukowski to soothe us
for its all just more bullshit he would say
no Kerouac to pass on the Dharma
no Dharma Bums to share their visions
no Thoreau to teach us simplicity
no Blake or Burns to mock us
no Dante to damn our hypocrisy
no Cervantes to help us to dream
no Swift to undermine our certainty
no Baudelaire to reflect our despair
no Pablo Neruda or Garcia Lorca
reciting lyrical verses about freedom & tyranny
singing songs of revolution
no folk singers & rock & rollers
willing to stand up
too busy making another million or two
how many millions does one person need
no rebels to throw a wrench into the machinery
so many lost their way becoming Court Jesters
for Monarchs, the New Czars & tyrants
such tyranny abides when poets abandon their posts
all we get are silly sad love songs while the world burns -

All the poets are gone
tending their gardens
while bombers pass unnoticed over their heads -

No Poets to man the Barricades
No Poets to storm the Bastille
Poets fat & content in Suburbia
having retired from the battlefield
writing odes to flowers & misguided soldiers -

Poets crying out in the wilderness
Poets shouting from the mountain tops
all in vain the people have turned a blind eye -

Poets crying into their beer
all those long dark nights of the soul
waiting for a reprieve
we all stand accused -

poets gone to Innisfree & Walden Pond or gone to live in Medieval Castles
or to the Isle of Crete or to the Courts of Kings who feed the poet’s ego & belly
in the hopes of regaining their sanity
hoping to regain their identity -

Poets lost in drug induced visions
Poets having meditated themselves into indifference
for all is an illusion they say
even your hunger & destitution
even mangled bodies of children merely an illusion
all life is suffering so why worry be happy
so their song & dance men sing -

Poets getting drunk to dull the pain
to run through the streets drunk or high
jumping head first into the machine
torn apart by its cogs & wheels -

Poets lost in lust or love
& other distractions
souls untended left to languish-

Poets longing for death
each line a confession of despair -

Poets writing manifestos no one will read
Poets preparing for the next revolution
just another delusion of the feeble minded
as they huddle together in a common room
of some hospital for the overly sensitive
who weep & wail over the mangled bodies of strangers
blown to pieces in another war to end all wars
on the tv nightly news but now its 24/7 there’s no escape
& it’s just a video game everyone wants to play -

Poets unable to see the trees for the forest -
Poets plagued by nightmares of war & pestilence
of massacres & genocide -

Poets chipping away at icebergs
taking an axe to our paintings & statues
smashing our glass houses
murdering our mythical selves -

Poets oblivious savoring sweet dreams
& visions of beauty
til they are dragged away
breaking their guitars & breaking their hands
then politely shot -

Poets seeing through the false veneer
of a society & world gone mad -

Poets giving up the ghost
throwing in the towel -

Poets lashed to the unforgiving wheel of time -

Poets caught like flies in amber
twenty years gone in the blink of an eye -

Poets born into an age where poets are ignored
better to face a firing squad -

Poets calling to the people to arise
to fight the tyrants
the people stoning poets in the public square
believing their wise men & priests
who feed their blood-lust & hate
for what is a man without fear & hate -

Requiem: Epic For Our Time

Part VI  --The Mask We Wear --


searching for a mask to wear 
trying on one identity or another 
where is my true face you ask 
& I wonder about it 
for awhile til I realize 
it is forever changing 
from day to day 
no longer am I 
who you believed I was 
no longer am I 
who I believed I was 
lost for a time in some role I played 
I see a stranger in the mirror 
is that who you see 
what then do you see ? 

what mask do you see 
an aging recluse 
a lazy indifferent fool 
a shrivelled up celibate monk 
a Don Juan passed his prime 
a no talent poet 
a witless philosopher 
a true phrophet & metaphysician 
a pot head in need 
of a nightly bed-time toke 
scribbling cliches late into the night 
in the grips of 3am blues 
stumbling over the profound 
digging down into my depths 
finding emptiness & silence 
& nothing more & nothing less 
filling me with fear 
regretting all of it 
regretting everything 
je tout regrette- 


filling my head 
with the voices of others 
of the bards & troubadors of old 
of philosophers & poets 
their voices speaking chanting 
& singing swirl around 
inside the jumble jar 
mixed in with fragments of memory 
strange stray wild thoughts 
which might be my own 
unable to disentangle them- 

finding myself inside Plato's cave 
confused by the shadows on the walls 
on a street corner in ancient Athens arguing 
with Socrates about ethics & the essence 
of the universe sitting throughout a night 
& a day with the Buddha beneath 
the sacred Bodhi tree dancing wildly 
in elysian fields with Lord Krishna 
sharing a pipe of tobacco in a humble 
hovel with Thoreau beside Walden pond 
sharing a ride across America with Kerouac 
riding the rails with Woody Guthrie 
through the Dust Bowl into the rich green 
valleys of California assisting Walt Whitman 
as he tends those wounded in some 
Civil War battle watching frivolous thoughts 
pass through my mind as I spend a day 
lazing about on a river bank beside Lao Tsu 
fishing for enlightenment 
walking along the streets of Dublin 
visiting various bars with my companion 
overly intellectualized James Joyce- 

furniture & decorations 
for the mind 
what gains a home there 
what is temporary 
heard seen felt 
then we move on 
putting some things in storage 
others we sell in a yardsale 
all cash offers accepted- 

II 

seems like centuries 
years stretched out 
across this desert 
crawling along 
lost in some drug induced 
euphoria confusion & fear 
dreading waking up 
to this drab lack-luster world 
of daily duties & chores 
following their rules 
which once I believed in 
but now it doesn't matter 
none of it does 
in this tear draped world 
where everything comes at a cost 
finding myself alone 
at the end of my days 
a fool a jester 
a mockery of humankind 
memories visions & fantasies 
passing stray thoughts 
all dipped in sweet 
oh so sweet weed 
turns razor-edged foreboding 
black & white nightmares 
into sweet pastel coloured dreams- 

Requiem : Epic For Our Time

 Part VII:

-- Pearls of Wisdom From Headless Buddhas --

Headless Buddhas watching over us 
sharing pearls of wisdom 
all is as it is 
pray for patience 
all these Empires 
all these fanatics 
come & go 
change is never what we desire 
your freedom is my loss 
your loss is my freedom 
our desires are lost in a waterfall 
emptying out a vast lake 
given enough time- 

our time slows down to a crawl 
speeds up 
we madly dance about 
whirling dirvishes 
never catching our breath 
each moment twisted out of shape 
by our dissecting 
leading to suffering 
deconstructing each hard-edged 
moment - 

once we called out demanded 
truth revealed in a few words 
with no ambiguity- 

it is not so simple 
truth is sometimes hidden 
beneath strange symbols 
under rocks & old logs 
left on the ground to rot- 

sometimes we are led into strange places 
left wondering about Ahab's White Whale 
& what lies deep in the caverns 
of Thoreau's Walden Pond 
against our will led into the dark depths 
under the thick solid ice 
somewhere deep inside the Jumble Jar- 

" Requiem : An EPIC FOR OUR TIME : PART VII 

 Epilogue :"DREAMING CAFE APOLLINAIRE "


 Dreaming Café Apollinaire where once we talked of revolution
filled with fire & passion
rowdy loud & boisterous
our cigarette smoke circled round our heads
becoming the tzars of the café
acting the fools of the café
believing everyone was corrupt
believing not everyone was corrupt
believing in justice & brotherhood
having gone on a march or two
making fun of those who still go on a march or two
and other silly nonsense
feeling so superiour
believing in nothing
believing in art & poetry
discussing theology & philosophy
wandering through Plato’s Cave & Dante's Inferno
always accompanied by our muse -



later with our student days at university behind us
becoming patrons of more upscale fern bars
where the toilets always over flowed
sitting with our drinking companions
our friends of the moment
telling of our adventures of hunting for deals
of the newest gadgets & home renovations
to which there is no end
arguing about films of the pretensious sort
or some predictable prepackaged Hollywood bit of fluff
fast food for the mind always the same
or repeating lines from some popular tv show
did you see this weeks episode they ask
forgetting the rules of the game after one too many drinks
admiring the works of Hemingway Orwell & Kerouac
drifting into De Sade & Sartre
arguing about St. Augustine Nietzsche Freud & Marx
circling round to Baudelaire & Rimbaud
always writing the same poem
art collapsing in upon itself
then down upon the heads of the patrons of Café Apollinaire
someone takes the stage reading real poetry
unveiling the heart & soul of poetry
not just the trivial & the quaint
divorced from stilted academia
twisting the knife into the champions of the status quo
where meaning is not lost in obscurity
or buried beneath a truck load of erudition
or taking shelter in forms & styles long dead
searching instead for what is truly felt & thought
seeking substance over style -

later again falling back on old habits
having left the life of ease behind
becoming jaded & cynical
searching for a new role to play
drunk every night for years on end
being tossed out of the best & the worst bars
in the shadows of towers of steel & glass
sitting in noisy smelly bars
dreaming of the girl in the yellow angora sweater
lusting after the Goth girl in leather boots
an original then becoming a fad as common as dirt
they suck the fun out of everything
all those guys marching for this or that
just to get laid growing into empty headed accountants &
cynical lawyers only in it for the money &
willfully blind bureaucrats hiding in those towers of steel & glass
( passing by the whores hanging out on Hollis Street
do the whores still hang out on Hollis street )
now we are old & complacent
living in a world of gadgets
dreaming of acquiring a thousand new improved gadgets
to fill our empty over-sized house
always in the act of renovating
never quite satisfied
we’ve seen it all before
knowing just where it will all lead
more shattered dreams more broken hearts -

where once we joked about revolution
lost in our glibness & cynicism
surrounded by the walking wounded
surrounded by the walking dead -

as we watch our numbers dwindle
as we watch our friends disappear
as we watch them confess their faults
major or minor or just imaginary
in public trials staged for the media
for family & their new & more impressive friends
those of the right sort -

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