Do you know how long it has been since a moral choice presented itself
and the wrong choice was made
not two minutes
why is it not quiet between lightning and thunder as if someone were asking
do you have other articulable feelings if so express them now
tragedy ensues
with a laser blast from the cockpit
the dangled finger of God makes contact


What idiot sits in a metal chair by a tin fence
when the storm commences the mountains disappear
in a cloud of clouds the monsters reappear
the result is a remarkably diverse array of desert life
yellow rainlilies for one example
like all pleasures sleep has become a passion
of my father's I remember we would live for these rains
years ago in Spain we'd walk into Alayor
in a downpour the old women under the shades
in dresses and black scarves would not lift one dark eyebrow
from their lacework not so much as a lisp of Catalonian greeting
and why be obliged with Franco not yet dead long enough
there was plenty of talk of how he'd murdered
Lorca among many others by ordering soldiers
to shoot point blank at their enemy on a back road at dawn
in the presence of their Lord
and the enemies many of them servants of culture set off


Inside the storm is like a long train ride
unable to afford a better class
you sit awake all night in a chair
time to time you make your way to the club car
then back to your dream
on on the train plunges maybe you hear music
the train would be headed for a beach town
or the signature nightmare of your people
a shower of darkness
these are extraordinary times
the Inquisition is a clusterfuck of the inner ear


The miller is charged to utter a prayer
when wheat and barley flour are ground
bulls and rams both milk and barley fed are sacrificed
the thighs being the prime cut
for this or that god the king eats
a scrap from the golden plate
then the tail goes to the metallurgist
the breast to the goldsmith
and the ribs to the weaver
the priest shall mix wine and good oil
he shall smear it on the door sockets of the gate to the sanctuary
the door shall not be shut
the first watch of the night shall prepare the golden tray
one starts the day thinking of marriage
and ends the day thinking of war
each chariot has a driver and a soldier
a battle–ax and a quiver of spears
after the running and shouting
if there is nothing
is there peace and quiet
the days are long in the desert
not much happens quickly
the most beautiful and well–built young men
have bowls put before them
of honeyed cream and black figs of a violet
less dark green than eggplant skin
and more black than blue and sweeter
than milk for the sacrifice
and after such wonder
that there is a world at all
the scribe has to send the police


The generally tender cuts of meat in the back of the animal
are forbidden by Jewish law such law
also forbids the consumption of the sciatic nerve
giving rise to long–stewed pot roasts of the forequarter
and that other classic forcemeat gefilte fish such humble meals
as meatballs could be prepared ahead and served
cold on the Sabbath during the trials of the Inquisition
the preparation of albondigas was presented as evidence
of secret Jewish practice the vast majority having long since fled
only Jews who remained in Spain
and converted to Catholicism
were put to trial rank justice if you will
that the reader may be more justly occasioned
to make inquisition of the truth on the operating table
before the membrane between waking and sleeping is cut
by drugs the surgeon's fine straight teeth appear
like distant white cliffs where I am to be welcomed
as someone who can finally walk
to safety notwithstanding I am not one of the ones
who has chosen to leave nor am I willing
to stay behind as conditions worsen naturally there
is every difference in the world now versus then
with the divine intervention of science
as a way out rather than take what is coming
and I make no case whatever
for bravery it actually became all about my mother
and country in the sense of what one inherits
when there is no choice what one can choose
as a cripple for months I became obsessed
lest I judge those who converted rather than flee
feeling sorry for myself despite what I understood
must be real torture the pain of persecution for no reason
I knew my circumstance to be fundamentally different
yet I remained woefully who I was
having no practice no agency no law
I thought of truth as accessible with my nerves
make as speedy an Inquisition as thou canst into thy own state
o my master I get lucky the white cliffs fade
the room feels positively medieval do I observe
on the white bloodied apron the butcher wipe his knife
determinedly I hang from the meat hook where is my mother
shouting from telling me to bring the hose to do some watering
with everything so dry I hear them hosing down the charnel house
when I awake I am walked out of the hospital the prodigal Jew