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Poetry by Sam Witt
'Adagio' by Guthrie Lowe
'The Gods Are Never Sated' © 2007 Lenka Manning-Warder 'The Gods Are Never Sated' © 2007 Lenka Manning-Warder
'The Gods Are Never Sated' by Lenka Manning-Warder

The Secretary of War

for Garrett Scott

The Secretary of War is an animal under the moonlight, O wondrous [. . .Father redacted. . .], she prey.

Every animal is a pure underexposure of God’s face, that’s why,

when the Secretary of War weeps, in the moonlight, her cheeks run with tears of light, sweet etc., that’s how she knows the President by name, well enough to say we are all animals in code.

The President is a life-sized map of the veins in the human body (the arteries are missing from this map),

but the Secretary has all appropriate access codes; lest there be an opportunity for draining, this first bit of prayercode, having escaped her thin prayercloth, can only be read in moonlight:

“In the beginning God created oil” reads, in a darker, enscriptured moonlight: “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered unto one place” and LO! America was born, and half a world away, light, sweet did bubble forth from the sacred underground bunkers. “And the evening and the morning were the third day,” right to left, decoded into mirrortime, it read:

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the Desert, either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.”
This was the code: Black Gold, Texas blub-blub.

“Evertime I see those refinery hammers going, it’s like they’re pumping my heart.”

But why speak of the President’s blood in the piss of his body politique, why speak of it? Like ruby fluids, like pomegranite seeds in the oil? Of neon blood, pinkish white skin, Old Glory, denim blue skies, the river Jordache

shall cover and baptise the bodies as they come home, still immersed in bullet-time, that point through which time flows.

[ I suppose I am also the secretary of war;

only when I walk under this black moonlight can the access codes be read, the ones I keep buried under my skin: the bodies, still immersed in bullet-time as they come home, that point from which we, the animals, be deciphered, Children, into rivers of smoke, or into that animal, the shape of the smoke the eagle screams, the eagle guzzles 20 million barrels a day, Children Operation Infinite be screamed into our bodies, still immersed in freedom smoke: only then do the codes lightly hiss a gold-composted, agonal gasp: G-O-D. . . ]

We interrupt this prayer to bring you

Let them exude the perfume of war as they fall, each according to the gravity of his own faith. . .

[ . . .onely in the moonlight can these lines of code tattooed into my forearm be read, Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate that this binary code be broken into a naked man, his entire head covered in a green sandbag, so that into this green night vision you can see into the blacked-out faces of the dead in which I am together, alone, mama, papa, Mr., Vice, light, sweet will fall ]

at $31.05 a barrell, to $35.95, to $58.95 etc., will fall. The Father, the Son, rising through broken airwaves to $63.05, and the black rain, with all its tiny, neon rainbows blacked-out, shall fall, that’s the cost of a body, or so the Pyramid Song goes:

O my nation, O Tomb, abomination: the Atom Bomb: the Adam Tomb. . .

From the Life of the Pharoahs:

The execution of this prayer will take place in the desert. Hallelujah!
From thousands of miles away.
The wreckage of their many, vanished faces be smeared along this document
in that same aluminum explosive powder that replaced the air in their lungs,
and in their children’s lungs, if God wills.
Shall dissolve lightly into pure seeing in terms of strength, there’s a higher father I appeal to through their lungs, with fire.
Between the Steel and Gold rivers, height 2000 meters, in the green zone of our refuge,
in the region of [ . . .redacted portion. . . ], in a buried bunker temple,
I get great sustenance.
There is a higher father appeal to a higher father.
One who does not speak.
For Whom even the blacked-out faces of the dead.
White lips, rivers of moonlight in the smoke, tiny fingers clutching cannisters, dead combustion in the sand.
( And through the rippling fumes of the reflecting pool,
sometimes I can see them, and I close my eyes until they’re gone,
until a last thread of smoke rises from a child’s wrist. )
I get great sustenance.
Threat level: Yellow      Code: Children of Smoke
Time: Holy Bunker empty
Action:      Rivers of orange plastic fire the sky shall open to drop.
The sky opened.

Do you feel the hand of God guiding you?
Do you believe the hand of God guides even the precision bombs?
Will you lead us in prayer, Mother Secretary?

Let us pray. Those faces empty the mirror. Our sleep be emptied, without dreams, this daily bread.
Flies, crawling on their eyeballs ( that’s what the eyeballs guy promised )
Forgive us this day.

Let us, Father, prey. That the veil covering the socket in my chest unlifted be. Behind which the starcarcass sleeps.
Pass Your hand through my ribcage. Lift my heart in its prayercloth, clean.
Wipe my heart clean away of the nukular fingerprint their faces cleansed.
Let a white wind blow into the sleeper cells of my heart, in the albino milk fed fire, amen.

[ And the Secretary murmured through my throat: “Heart? Its crushed, velvet hinges are little more than fluid,” escaped her thin white prayerducts: is what God’s empty face delivers mine? ]

I turned in the president’s sleep, and she whispered through it: “in the event of dirty bomb, chamber will empty of stars and POW—I am a suit of dark, pure-particle waves, your body is pyramid to, and President’s own darkness will the pyramid shape,” the Secretary blacked out our minds with a fat magic marker:

From the Life of the Marionettes:

There is a Father [ . . .portion escapes subject’s pink heart. . . ]
O wondrous [ . . .Father redacted. . . ] shall dissolve us lightly into the secretary of whispers,
[ . . .screen fills with static. . . ] What is God but One?

Access code: Where is the child with nuclear fingerprints?
[ Whispers of smoke thread from Secretary’s dry tearducts ]
and a tiny, immaculate flame, Day of Embed, one from each fingertip, shall emit.

A stranger’s footprint, mirror full of static, silent thump in my chest, shall lift.
And reach your radiolucent fingers through the sacred, plastique heart.
The stars were invisible in my conception of time.

I was the thump-thump, thump-thump in my little jesus of the lamb, alpha chopper day.
The planes, raining down from the sky in ever-enlarging lobes of mactation at dawn.
A soft, immaculate flame shall come,

an apache helicopter [ but only in my chest ] through the medullanean thumbprint of my heart,
into which these messages had been carved:

Right ventricle, Let there be an opportunity for draining. Left ventricle, Lest the sacred heart in razorwire be unbound.

Such as that surveilled from a [ . . .redacted portion. . . ], from the Life of the swathed in immaculate, soft, intelligence service, etc.,
O secretary of whispers, the Now is here:

Onely in nightvision scopes can the soaked civilian airtime be broken into the pure, beheaded binary of the human heart, back behind the static, where a bloated, golden calf flashes across the darkened screen.

Put your palms to the convex screen, filled with static and whispers of light. Can you feel it? Lightly touch its face, having awakened in the flickering living room past midnight, rustles of light beneath the darkening screen. It shocks you on the palm, feel it? The naked man with his arms outspread? Do you feel it then?

And in the underground bunker of the Pyramid, the young Prince turns in his sleep, and whispers of smoke rise through a child’s eyelids, a babble of light, sweet blood bubbling up through gashes in the sand, and if your television screen should suddenly be filled with green buildings,

when you wake, it just means that the Secretary has blacked out your eyes with her magic marker and filled in your heart, that the prayercloth has come to cover your head in a hood, at last you can see through the green eye at the top of the pyramid that Babylon can only be seen at night.

[ “I can’t even describe it. Quite literally we didn’t even hear an explosion. You see the light before you hear anything and we saw this massive red fireball, and it literally masked an entire mountain, and we just started laughing, laughing, just out of joy. . .”

Thus. I am but one among many secretaries of these codes, to the wrist of an animal in the moonlight chained.
Thus, the President bowed his head in prayer with the Secretary of the Disappeared, a reflecting pool shimmering behind my chest.
And when the president bows his head in prayer, helicopters rise, jetplanes fill the sky,

[ but only I, undersecretary of the dispossessed, I mumbled through this kind of martial law: ah, bronze bodies, human shapes, pure streams of sunny exhaust, bright entrails filling the room, only I was found lying facedown on the wall-to-wall carpeting in this prayer.

Onely under sweet, crude oil-light, in the temple, can these prayercodes be read, when the Secretary of War spake handfuls of immaculate aluminum powder explosive bursting in air escapes her thin white lips: “Ladies and Gentlemen of the Desert! Either you accept. . .and bury you.”

And when the President spoke, there was almost a father in that need:
“You keep emphasizing the death and I don’t blame you. I don’t like death either.”

But the real message was delivered clearly enough, and for some, that was the point from which time suddenly flowed. The face in question was a mother’s face—in Minnesota, at the mall, in a desert city, at market? Among dates and bolts of fabric, or here, near automotive, either way a mother screamed, right there in prayer linens and life baskets lined with ultra-suede, near lawn ornaments, below-ground bunker implements, and duct tape,

seeing the face of her son melted again, and his arms blasted away, was not just a dream—her surveillance number was released into the soothing elevator hymns, into the abominable, powdered neon light, pumped into that distant high-pitched department store screaming, for his face to be blacked-out that very evening on the news—was just such a sudden under-exposure,

as a barely detectable, high-pitched buzzing suddenly rang out in her ear, and that’s the last thing, before she collapsed,

that’s what happens when the President bows his head in prayer.

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last update: July 2, 2007