Alice O. Howell   




The Gnostics had prefigured

everything, everything

but scholars and small boys

    with a sweet tooth

and they were vulnerable in their verbs

    to nouns


so when they spoke of flight and light

 they really meant flying and lighting

 but in the footnotes to

 Basilides ( a kingspringer

 if ever there was one)

 you find him tied down by good intentions

 in an anthology (of all things!)

     of suppositions

         Anthos and Logos, the flowering word

         speak to us as One

 and seekers today

 are either readers or skydivers

     we must ask them

 about the footnotes of the sun

thus how to place their soles and souls

    upon the racks of heaven


a scroll is but a rolled-up, spiraled truth

     and dusty words to dusty death

     makes powder

 for some Zosimox for hot and itching

     angels' feet

 burning to explode, transform, illuminate

 as in fireworks on roads to

     Damascus and Podhvoretz

 or at that Alameda of the Muses

 with hiccuping Clio and the Furies


    explosions are iconoclasts:

    winged, uncorseted future Ogdoads

    accelerators of sperm and vision

    and a better product

perhaps the Lord of lords is impatient

    in his highchair

wanting crunchy instead of regular


the roots may be Sanskrit or Bantu

entwined with Hebrew and Navajo

    the stalk might be Europe

 but the flowers are trembling, risked

 in the Renaissance of Las Vegas and Miami Beach

     (have we forgotten the bare breasts of Knossos?)


alas, the seed is always future

 folded (do not mutilate!) in sparks

     of one or two

 compacted in aeons and ions

 and where they cross and spindle

     there hang we

 crucified in a perforated box

     of neglect.