Always Die Before Your Mother: Poems by Patrick Woodcock

By Patrick Woodcock

Deftly relocating from the stifling warmth and politics of the Arabian Peninsula to the darkest corners of South America's rainforest, this number of poetry supplies a searing remark on humanity's many failings. Politics, faith, societal constraints, and familial relationships are all fodder for those pointedly written poems.

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A hemisphere of blood and bone, I am unmovable. 6. Suicide dogs, Christ, I understand your progression, your undarkening eyes. I’ve imagined coaches and horse dung and the scraggy-headed succession of order. I’ve pawed at Him for years while the roaches after flying through my window stopped beating their wings and wondered acoustically — fleeting? 46 T H E C H I VA A C C I D E N T Forgotten was the rainbow’s glow when it decided to carve and carve and carve. And when it chose to butcher, then bloody, then throw, it chose a baby to cradle and the same baby, starve.

She made insect mittens and debated how to die gracefully with her own tremulous echo. ” 54 BRICKS Tally the starving, tally their egos For the umbilical of beggary is tied to them now The bricks have moved, been carried away Abandon your bibles, burn all your bibles Shake the delirium of chickens on coffins The bricks have moved the bricks have moved Cardboard the city, corrugate your country Sit on your rooftops while hayfields float by The bricks have moved, been carried away Drink to your mother, drink to the hungry Drink to your children and all that is sunken The bricks have moved the bricks have moved Bring me your iron, bring me your mountains Bring me your wisdom and all not of bone The bricks have moved, been carried away Dance with the fleshless, dance with the sluggards Dance in the moonlight beneath broken glass The bricks have moved the bricks have moved Who has no money, Who has no family Who has no children or none within sight The family has moved, been carried away I started off green, but now brood black and blue Blunted and cheated and left here to rot The bricks have moved the bricks have moved 57 Now there’s no blood, now there’s no bone Now only skin only fragments of skin The bricks have moved, been carried away At night there was laughter, and maudlin dissent At night there were windows far too many windows The bricks have moved the bricks have moved Yes, we were poets, not blacksmiths but poets Yes there was wonder wrung out of our landscape The bricks have moved the bricks have moved But now I’m seditious, and now, I surrender To the god of consumption conducting me home My bricks have moved, been carried away 58 PA U L D U R C A N WA N T S A TA X I I N T H E C H A PA R R A L Take that one — mourning until dusk — what a great rock!

I sit below a corrugated metal roof that is being battered by rain — it is leaking in three places — always on us. No women will come in here except the wife of the owner. She has been pregnant since I arrived. Fifteen months and holding. Vallenato is what they play. Names of drug lords, names of enemies, plantations and dead crops. But I have left them again. Poland in the 1940s: the fire, the star expiring in mud. A Pole, a Jew, a Gypsy, a Queer? This is how it happens now. My travels have altered the game — I can arc even the purest moments into hell.

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