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Manuel Yang © 2003


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Arc of infinity that my bokuto draws,
slashing at clear distance an immovable tree,
the enduring terror of silence in my arms,
muscular contortions melt in the sweltering sun of my heartbeats.
Why do individuals & classes kill, die, maim, disappear?
Primitive instincts of neither evolution nor history
are ruptured, loosened, and recreated again,
cycles of revolution and eternal stillness of historical materialist beauty,
return to that, return, like repetition of magnesium flash,
and aesthetics bleeds into twitters of pigeons water-bathing in tender mud,
their wings swirling into shapeless echoes of zero on the thin surface of trembling light.

That is ordinary life, declaration of no intentions, even refusal of declaration,
slaughtering images of bodhisattvas, saints, and revolutionaries,
defying resurrection and negation of negation in the white heat of a single blade,
cutting up passports of mechanical ideologies in incandescent rhythm
while the smoke of their gnarled ashes stings my unequivocal eyes
in the razed cathedral of this forest within and without.
"I annihilate temples and rebuild them instantaneously,"
a murmured recitation that the edge of the wooden sword imperceptibly intones
as I sink, drown, and resurface on the putrid eddies of empires, inferno, and invisible vanguards.
At the thousandth stroke, I unhesitatingly kill the killing in me.




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