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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, December 3, 2015.
About this Poem 

“‘Endtime’ comes from a longer book-length prose poem titled Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet To Be Born, forthcoming from Coffee House Press in the spring of 2016. It is a response to William Blake’s Book of Thel, about the virgin Thel who is shown her own grave plot and decides not to be born in this suffering world.”
Anne Waldman

Endtime

Why cannot the ear be closed to its own destruction?
—William Blake

Won’t come alive ever yet or again? In the mind of Endtime it looks like this: shell, volute, Tabriz, eddies, and tides. Flowers wilt. When you wake, observe the unmitigated trials and tribulations of these tossed things, random it seems. But in the endtime, less personhood more ransom. Radical sleep in the Endtime, there is no end of sleep. Multiplying the stars was never easy in Endtime, doing it by themselves, obstinate stars. Self-repairing and learning on the job. Write reports, sniff out plagiarism, fly your planes with a computer. Drones inhabit the Endtime lore, how many kills. In Endtime things go static. Then still. Switch off “solace.” Would you kill another literary form? a ransom note perhaps, saying again: The dead always will be saying too many of us! Then carry the corpses around. In the mind of the Endtime no substitutes but if you care to try your hand you may gamble all you have to offer and what would that be. A mole might do for you, a burrowing animal “thing” might do, biding time might do for a time, a night perhaps you have for rhetoric, before you are released at dawn. Recant, reflect, review, reach out. We have met the enemy and it is the psychotic karmic flow of our blowback. Privileged community survives a raging flood. Maybe. You keep churning and there’s an echo in the world. In the Endtime no need of explanation. Need stronger better experienced cop? He’s a baby. In the Endtime there are theories of dysfunction, delicate wheelworks that need retread. In the mind of the Endtime scot-free isn’t possible. No interpretation necessary for your cargo. But tax and a search and a fee and a calibration what it all adds up to. Then drop it. Drop it down, send it off, may it disintegrate in peace.
 

Copyright © 2015 by Anne Waldman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 3, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Anne Waldman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 3, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Anne Waldman

Anne Waldman

A prominent figure in the Beat poetry generation, Anne Waldman has published over forty books of poetry and is the cofounder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. She served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2011 to 2016.

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