gods

Mama Kali

Mother, let's begin.
    Ramakrishna swooned at your feet
drowned in black wines, and you lapped
at his wounds
tenderly, like a cat with the runt of the litter
raw and trembling and wet and sightless
he was lost in spiritual darkness
a cave opening up and singing endless -
endless space, endless cold, endless heat
and endless unmarked time
    falling like Alice
into the mind-rock, the heart-chamber
the hollow earth

We've been waiting here for years
for you finally to give birth
we are brothers and sisters of primordial forest
snuggled lightless among roots and ferns
sometimes the air is sweet and thick with rain
sometimes the sky crumbles and burns
Mother,
    did you
        leave us behind?
Or did we simply go blind
and deaf and dumb, amnesiacs running
as if in a nightmare, and was it you
chasing us after all, was it you
carrying us when we slept?
What we thought were rivers and seas
or the arms of another,
was that really you all along, Mother?

(We're having trouble with father)
(he's been angry for thousands of years)
(and he refuses to forgive us our sins)
but Mother, we are who we are
we are as we were made
we won't lie any more
please love us as you made us

Mother, here are garlands and pinches of herbs
here are fruits and young leaves and seeds
here are incense sticks and sugar cubes
and oils and soaps and -
this is a picture of you, Mother, this is a statue -
- do you like them?
  - do you forgive us?
    - will you come home?

Mother, there are skeletons with scythes
dancing in the valley where we buried daddy
when the blood-rage finally ate his heart
and babies are growing there among the weeds
and the skeletons are black-boned and giggly
and they lop! the babies' heads off
as they sprout through the spring soil
and shot into our graves like a bullet from a groin
we are your sown seeds and dad's death-harvest

Mother, what we wished for never came,
and it was you, it was you -
here are milk sweets, here is rice and wine -
the offerings rot in the bowls year after year
and you tell us that you never left?
Mother, have we been insane all our lives?
Mother, is this not the real world at all?

Mother, did you travel through my dreams?
Were you the virgin girl with painted fingers
who kissed me after the car wreck?
Were you my guide in the ancestral asylum
walking through tableaus of genetic ritual
with my small hand
            in yours
                    did we
say goodbye to daddy sweating before the pig ovens
did we fall deep into the black together?
Did you stand up in the shallows and brush
sand from a waterlogged dress,
and tell me that I had no name?

Mother, can we unravel time and bless
all past mistakes? Can you tell me why
you didn't name me?
when I've stood alone in a thousand dark gardens
and begged to be consumed by starfire
Didn't you hear me? Didn't you believe me?
Where have you BEEN?

Mother, they are laid out on the plain, 6 bodies deep
in blood lit by lightning from converging hurricanes
and in the dead armies I see your stamping feet
I see your arms stirring the clouds and your eyes insane
I hear you laugh and scream and your anklets ring
as you crush your children and drink blood and sing

this is the unstoppable black universe of you

and only I am left alive
and I am no-one
the war was death
and now the dance is death
but Mother, Mother, at last
you are here, at least
you are beautiful