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a Josiah Scheme

and other poems

_____________

Michael Ferris
Contents

Page

Author’s Note on a Josiah Scheme 2

Knowledge 3
Creation (dance of the Demiurge) 4
Good Friday 5
Pure Land 6
Laments and Isaiahs 7
a Josiah Scheme 9
Omaha (OM) 16
The Hymn of Binary Heartbeats 21
A Lack of Oxygen 22
XXth Century 23
Monday Doldrums 24
Elementary Playgrounds 25
Axis Mundi 26
Lunch-Break Melancholy 27
Merrion Square 29
16th Verse 30
O’Connell Street Walk 31
natal 32
Post-Natal 33
Summer Melancholy and Redemption 34
Circle 35
Vidiocy 36
Modern Body-Songs 37
On G.B. Vico’s Theory of Human Communication 38
Found Poem 39
Worn Yellow Word 40
Uprising 41

1
Author’s Note on a Josiah Scheme

Josiah was the king of Judah whose sweeping reforms heralded the
refurbishment of the Temple and ultimately the “rediscovery” of the
books of Moses, the Law or the Torah in the generation preceding the
exile of the Jews. While in actuality the “rediscovery” was likely the
dissemination of texts written a generation prior chronicling over a
thousand years of Jewish History during which time such nationalism
was not accepted by the Asherah-worshipping ruler.

The metaphor of Josiah is to be applied at every possible level in this


collection.

-Not towards encouraging blind nationalisms but towards knocking


down the temple walls to find important voices in your own generation
(and those before) and having the courage to continue standing even
when your own generation may very well be the last.

The poems that follow were written between 1998 and 2003. Upon
compilation, I soon found the poem “a Josiah Scheme” to be the initial
fountain from which many of the themes in later poems flow. These
are ever relevant themes of effects of Mass-media on human
consciousness; religion and its effects and roots; the hypocritical
prosperity of a certain Military-Industrial state; and the long dead
voices of sombre reason and ecstatic revelation that reveal themselves
in past writings yet are forever ignored by the majority of any given
generation.

Credits
All art and photo-work by Paul Rooney (pgs. 4, 15, 25, 32, 37)

2
Knowledge

of my birth i can
know only to which
breast i clung.

of my death i know
only decay.

of the flames past amongst


heads of kin and friend
their speech is merely memory,
while their minds released
in breath forever
stoke the coals.

and forever we stew in


our intellects
for a physics
of heart and head.

-20 February, 2000

3
Creation (dance of the Demiurge)

Compressed into a
space infinitely small
cramped atoms
disapprove, insurrection builds
amongst the fires of
a moment.
white-flash
firestorm
Big Bang of
isolation
sending starshit
out into the expanse,
you and me-
all accelerating unto
understanding.
in the touch, in the talk
on the roads of lives taken
far away.
enlightened
exploration devising- realizing
each and every
day.

-September 1998

4
Good Friday

Hung out to die


flesh and mind aspiring
past a soul rooted in decay
-and again frantic mind rolls out
constructs and orders
rationalising some “me” yesterday.
an artifice stacked high as
city walls
vigilant of the wilderness inside.

-Forty days and nights,


-hardly enough time for devils
to polish the world’s
tongue-untied-tirades
and pick the flesh from aspirations
revealing the desire of bones.

-Yet may my broken-voice


stutter between pixels
exhaling today’s skin.

…and give us this day


our daily memory.

and forgive our labels,


those passed with
little time and
fewer smiles

as Night’s impasse cradles


body and the nations take their
turn nodding off,
padding neuroses and dreaming.

-13 April 2001


5
Pure Land

Returning
home-
fall winds coaxing
out old
seasons as the new is exhumed
-amuse my mind.
officially i take my home
where i go now.
wild wide
Empires of this wilderness
comprised of the compromised.
the familiar
knowledge of
home –uprooted.

i am to
go until i get there.
packed up in the home of my heart
daydreaming
of that rest-
interconnected.
myself the
verb,
always becoming what i must be.

Separation, when words


transcend these breath
and bones, is
the failing of the finite.
the season has arrived
for us all
to begin.

-October, 1998

6
Laments and Isaiahs

Majestic prophet
may your tears
burn into
men's spines
and awaken
sparks
from minds dulled
by big business beatings
to release
a great out-cry,
a conflagration within
renewing ancient
modes left behind
when technique
led men to
abandon temples of forefathers
for skyscrapers of progress
processing human spirit into
atmospheric mists
billowing out
industrial smokestacks
fueling
grating wheels of economy
splintering bone
through indifferent cogs
and collecting tears in bottomless
suggestion-boxes
the tears land in mildewed puddles
of wasted spirit
and the piss of
petroleum patriarchs.
Unanswered, the terror reigns
as a mindless many
Piling skeletal statues,
not in memorial,
7
but in shit-piles of
wasted mind,
desecrated flesh and bone
and increased profit.

Divine- we are
the lowliest, worthy of
Humanity- our
prosthetics conquer
our birth-rite.
We are inheritors not
of our mind
but of cold metal
kissing liquid mind.
forever lost to silicon gods
and electric prophets.

Epilogue:

Who deluded the sky


(or themselves, rather)
that they were
not of God?
That mysteries
abound in
wood and stream
and the galaxies
waltz happily
cheek
to cheek
for a singular,
infinite, eternal absurdity.

- February 1998

8
a Josiah Scheme

May i squeeze past


this failed
form into an explosive mind.
Advising, -de-paralysing, to revise
meaningless media-minds
to envision again
a free and warless society.

-do not be so beat that you cannot


speak relevance into my day.
your vision, un-breathed
-hypocrisy, unabated
no revolution,
but revulsion of the
soul of man.
-we are cowering from the despair
of dreams meant
to increase
our number.
the Yoke-
our fascination
to the High Places
-to the bright fires of industry
burning at Ge-Hinnom.
Leaving sons and daughters
at the doorstep
of our modern Molech.

-there is fuel enough


from a billion
empty-Antinoos eyes
called upon, but never
realized of expired mind
slaying flights of fancy
for a beleaguered death
9
in a strip mall.

-giving offering unto:

Asherah of fallen idols


Asherah of media-mind
Asherah of our prosperity
Asherah of a decaying house
Asherah of fallen minds

idols distance man


from God,
so dream of
human minds in
humane times

-all that be required of vision


is the ability to look past one’s
own failed and finite nose
unto the world and all
which is in it
to seek unity
between this
body, breath and spirit
that we exchange so eloquently
in our dances of the living.

Never dismiss the


elements thrown into the fire
of your sacrifice.
combustible Ecclesiastics arise
in cauldrons fair to poor
breathing in the street’s asphalt air
to sound the trumpets of
our sterilization.

How can words


10
maintaining the significance of
a generation’s struggle
be thrown into the synaptic shit-talk
of the children of
strip-malls?
whose entire life-blood flows
through their parents’ parents’ inalienable
right to succumb
to the sacred lady
of our luxury’s lust.

When lives and liberties


are carted away in the tractor trailers
of our homogeneity
all we have is our
pursuit of happiness.

Empty-eyed smiles arise in a material mind


a compensation for the spirit
squelched amongst lives living to die
for sit-com obituaries.

The mire deepens


as we are weighed down by
a lack of descriptives for
a disgusted generation.
Apathetic armies of eyes focused
on their own nose, but never beyond-
to a vision steadfast
in its unity.

Breathe in breath
from broken brethren,
proceed past your nostrils
in an eloquence
un-divine, un-exalted
yet undivided
11
in post-natal
cries for a recollection of songs
sung in the chords strung
between these opposing spaces.

Shifting glances once


danced then dashed away into oblivion-
and under into Hades’
dreary dogma-
past Adam’s
rib, buried
in the
carbon-based-salty-starshit-waterbag
that is
me.

i look everyone i talk to in


the eye.
i am attempting to
communicate with you,
so please
look at me mrgastationman.

Pity blows no doors open


for the pitiful, self-
redemption and
the grooves
leaned upon is a
mystery-time
to realize or theorize.

I wonder if
my theorizing decreases
in proportion to my realizations
of the wonder breathed in
each morning
12
resounding like hunger pains
up my spine
to my mind and i
realize i
would rather wonder,
not decide

When left sit,


life tends to cool
into frozen
sheets- a thousand
days long.

Drab undercoating
unstirred from a
youth-induced sleep
dreaming dreams of Adulthood.
burnt-out offerings for our
Asherah of Homogeneity.

-Past down
to you, to me
are lives lived,
blown into proportion
on paper-defamations
to exhume
the spirit
buried in its own drive
to define the all, the divine.

While out searching


high towers for progression,
the connection, your
self you deny-
in spirit, body and mind.
do not take up
your time dividing
13
the divine.

____________________________________

When this drive has driven


me past this debunked social
order (observed
by all,
observing their
nature to civilize)
into apparent
barbarian yawps past your shut
eyelids, blinking
into my eye’s reflection
(our talents of the sacred-dance-
interconnection)
-Canonize myth nor hero
but breath,
that lubricous slip-slide
between the tongues,
bashing heads in a race
to exhibit the spirit
unscathed, a virgin
song unto any who
listen.
-Standing upon no temple mounts to breathe an
ethic freely
but within the
altar of my flesh
i scream the white-fire
of a combustible spirit.

Leaving
your decision: An
exposition of
courageous, obscure oppression
14
or
babblings tragic
yet timely
peeking at your mind
to enter the places
you have yet to know.

Delivering this harsh-reality sandwich


to hungry mouths
minding their own
existence.

-October 1998

15
Omaha (OM)

Atman may be Brahman,


still
i cannot delineate the
tightrope i dance
in excuses of equanimity.

my breath belched forth


unto solemn, unprepared ears
reeks of a rambling
yet blessed upon me
and endeared to your holy ear.

Catching pen
rolled amongst the
swine-slop of impoverished
head,
dancing nonetheless spirited,
exhumed hearts
ancient yet born blind within
side-show realities
singing white-fire
melodies from soul-strept throat past
stripped pupils replaced
as modern days dim our
divining into lights-out crackpots
believing in unity
when money is to be had in the division.
Promoting madness
when the angry calm to divulge
the scam.

16
Beating hearts
ebb and flow
on the tides of exaltation,
exhalation-
inhalation-
to sing again triumphs
of a solid spirit.

Revised
while realized of
the confusion that resides
in the most uniform embouchure
-unstopping a liquid spirit to resonate life’s morning
revelry.
-resisting soul’s duty:
pulling band-sore lips toward
the trumpeted Taps
we all must sing (or hum) into
factory dug graves.

upon which street corner


do sacred songs,
un-numbed, move forth
from minds removed
from the iron lungs of a
statistical existence?

Do prophets
still cleanse
cataracts of the mind?
breathing fire into expired eyes
re-initiating the
spinal-fire to
illumine mind, circulating its influence
17
to the buried life
entombed as a casualty
of the boxed and carted generation.

Savant scriptures of the


information age
vomit dogma while
the spirit hides from this genocide of
the mind.

Industrial efficiency
sets fire to libraries
in the images of our educational
entertainment, teaching all
to live to be a movie-star
-imagining pre-fabricated images laid down
by executives from the
Ministry of Social Stability.

the mind rotting


for ratings- while
neighbours can think of no
relevance but the weather
to appear united, communal in front
of, and in fear of, the stranger who lives
down below.

Belligerent Beatitudes
give sermons of
separation when the
antidote lies in open-eyed exclamations of unity!

-I write until i am aware


of what i am saying
18
then the drive
resumes upon waterfalls
of the mind
leaping towards the
rocks below
making a splash or
a crash
-it does not matter-
i will pick myself
up from fallen times
and follow the breath that remains
towards unknown peaks and valleys
on paths
blown apart by ancient winds
originating in the divine
spaces
skipped aside pebbles
danced on water-tops
to plunge into the depths
of a fathomless
void of the mind.

When crouched
from the winds of the fall
it’s hard to keep your
head up,
hibernating in self-made caverns
entertained by the blinding night-lights of
civilized life.
distinct walks of mankind
spotted in isolation

-Pockets of Demographic dreams


to divide and consumerize: An
19
exploitive economics
raising the lid
of prosperity
to rain wealth upon
downtrodden masses in a
plotted and graphed trickle.

Mobile enclaves
intersecting the city in morning
west to east
exodus.
Dusk drives set
Samsara into restless repetition
of the Order to explain
while the world adapts its
housing for the inhumane.

-October 1998

20
The Hymn of Binary Heartbeats

You and i
we are numbers
-abstractions upon Bank’s
and Businessmen’s screens
Our loans -leases
upon our living
Humanity in
a serviced technique

Keep men and women


alive, feeding mouths
with dishes reeking
of death
-Blessed economies of the military build up
while media cries for an end
to violence
-a morbid fascination
to keep burning these contradictions within
the alchemist’s fires of our prosperity.
Enshrining life
while the fruits
of war keep us dying
with pocket-lined
satisfactions we know-not-why.

(Perhaps) –so when


children lay slaughtered
in our senseless streets
those remaining
can forget
in their stable
military state where there is always
enough to eat.
-1998

21
A Lack of Oxygen

Visions and Prophecies may all be just that


nebulous glimpse our brain transmits to its
logical centres while we are being deprived
of oxygen.

Ginsberg masturbating, reads Blake


hears Blake and becomes aware of all the
unity between infinite light and darkness
peering through his open cold-water-flat window.

Blake plays with his angels


and gets beaten by his father.

Conditioned response to turn


to screens
instead of mystic vision.
humour instead of the serious matter at hand:
of you and me
and why we are all tired
after bottled up days
all the same
when the soul isn’t talking
and we haven’t the words to shred the façade
between our faces and the stars
seen through streetlights
as the darkness becomes a little less quiet.

-16 August, 2001

22
XXth Century

Beaten down
histories span past
fifty years
the new and improved
realities spawn gelatinous
mind.
today is now forgotten
tomorrow not yet
the trend of yearly reviews.

Categorize the wisdom


-revise the truth
-set attention spans adrift
in bliss.

Long ago in our pop-prehistory


Allen’s howling wiped the
sleep from postwar eyes
-Yawning we were terrified into
tuning out
abolishing the abstract
burying the howl in
a whisper of Rock n’ Roll ditties.

Today the alternative is just another


fifteen minute
anesthetic.

Minds blossoming plastic petals


and molten spirits
cool to harden into a solid infrastructure.
Apathetic dis-service in
the human service industry.

-1998
23
Monday Doldrums

Monday doldrums
looking downward into a
life lined with
unfulfilling employment

-i will not turn your


lathes! -mental or otherwise!

-Father looks lovingly down


his nose at his artist son

-‘He doesn’t think banking’s


for him,…for a career!’

At one time the father


said the same
-Necessity in mind,
he now keeps quiet
generally, letting
the wife buy and say
whatever she wants.

-24th July, 2000

24
Elementary Playgrounds

School playgrounds
made full with
industry-grade gravel.

Old tires erected


into triangular wooden frame
-a child breaks his leg
leaping from the summit.

Aluminium alloy bars


melded together
for imaginations
content to see the day
free of eyes-adult.

-But all these children


have grown, some to die
some to live in their deaths.
All still hiding playground
sands in dark closets
piled high with childhood shoes.

- 6th June, 2000

25
Axis Mundi

Trying to join a community


trying to speak
distinctly without
overstepping socially accepted
emotion levels.

-from top floor room i hear


neighbours frantically
wash the dishes.

-i hear dog’s primeval


howl, lamenting
its confinement in inner-city
unseen gardens.

-Wind coaxes rosebush


disturbing twenty or more
bees eager to return
to their ancient routines.

-Beyond tree and bush barrier lie


the conversations of ambulance
drivers, soft then
loud over hissing hose
spraying off their machines.

-and again the dog begins its


song, this time a tired
ode to apathy:

-this confinement in
emotional gardens
gathers nothing but weeds.

-30 July, 2000


26
Lunch-Break Melancholy

Constructs and inabilities


encircle mind and laugh
at its dreaming.

No more power to save


the world with youthful-open-
eyes.

My skin has left me,


dead ten-thousand times since then.

Caught in Alarm-clock
and bus-timetable lives

Not enough time to speak


of the way…

Any way to lend freedom


a less-cliché ring.

Eyes open wide only to receive


the everything world…

Everything on a plate or a screen


or on my mind to be washed away.

Molech, your towers


sweeten this bitter frame
and oil the only perpetual
motion machine in existence.

Safe within the security


27
of an ever ending face,
these abstractions harden
surrounding cements.

--But where is my release,


my eli eli, lama lama,
sabachtani cry?

The weeds at my feet,


still growing
the vines
poised to constrict.

-22 October, 2001

28
Merrion Square

Rain clearing off,


cool breeze dries park
benches.

I sit weary of fresh green


paint, remove my lunch
from my bag and
wrestle the wind’s intentions
with my neck tie.

Hallowed Halls of Government founded


nearby. even the days
most uptight bureaucrat spends his
lunch reclining on the green
the sun making him squint
at childhood dreams.

-31 August, 2000

29
16th Verse*

Songs sold spoken and swift


to all those dying to
be buyers,
cocksuckers of advertisers
taking it all in void filling,
a chore to
mask some hideousness,
a singular suffering
sung in unassuming choirs

to fill, to purge,
to breathe, to birth
some new day from purgatoried
shit-heaps.

My brand new TV says:


“you ain’t got the nerve.”

-25th October 2000

* after B. Dylan “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

30
O’Connell Street Walk

Eyes of the crowds


meet only to look away
following the rain to sidewalk
to float again down concrete stream
to another gaze

-this one recognized my


eyes belonging
to no half-living
breath and bones

-but why stay


to chat about our days
of half-living,
half-dreaming, half-loving
when the golden ring beckons
us all on (in a seldom
talked of scheme
to build bricks for walls
separating us all from one another
in sacred civility)?

to be rich men and women,


wearing pockets weighing
down a body
always ending
completely dead.

-1st October 1999

31
natal

to return to
womb residency-
a dream vacation
understated.

a union
corporeal
yet
undivided.
in this
moment
my mother’s
star
shines
down into a dozen
forefather’s
acts
of grateful Christian
procreation.

-March 1998

32
Post-Natal

Shortly after my birth


I recall lying in the grass
-a three year old
realising that this was not shag carpet
and that the blades reached down
into brown earth beneath green fields
to disguise a deeper secret of
mantles, crust and core.

Now I play the cliché


of honouring the grass from concrete
habitats, my stare must gaze
towards steel and glass buildings
to fill my belly, to fill my form
with a social relevance.

-boxed in to spin
futile wheels.

-February 2000

33
Summer Melancholy and Redemption

Downhill, alone I walk to the river


feet made heavy by mind
and mind made old by time
-i want to stop to record,
to praise idols of reflection
-to scream at the sky
“i’ve got it!” and to the street
“walk with me!”

But these eyes will rot in my head


and reveal an emptiness
in a skull once full of ideas.
no thing beating the drum dancing us all on
in dreams of possession
and perception.

May the water’s breeze


steal away today’s whim
from this rotting frame
to nurture an eternal gaze.

-18th June, 2000

34
Circle

The curvature of everyday life


spins wind, spins backyard shopping carts
igniting pigeon parades.

Body, recovering
from its weight
spinning somewhere between
spine and mind
abhors silence…

it’s not fashionable


and sells nothing
save healing tomes of the void.

-28th February 2002

35
Vidiocy

A taste of wasted youth


and visions of consumerist faith
all efficient, no attention given
to the silence holding self away.

Pass our days keen on


the new and improved,
investing in personae
mouth frothing for solid image
idol of myself, yoked to loans
and golden.

-“may my façade explain me away,


as I dread talking and prefer runway walking
and all the machinery moulding sincere thought
into cliché!”

-Wisecracking, seen it all before bullshit.


turn the channel
and forget about today.

-28th January, 2001

36
Modern Body-Songs

Television and radio


both mute

advertisement time or time


to look away
to regain old sight

-at the ceiling or at lint-lined floor-

to hear at last
mind-bodysong accompanied by
refrigerated electric symphonies

-22nd October, 2001

37
On G.B. Vico’s Theory of Human Communication

All the dialects of the daily


mind long for
the universal tongue
sung in sleeping.

Criss-crossing impressions of
memory’s hidden flowerings
traced behind the eyes in hieroglyphs
of sacred sight
let loose off the tongue
in intimate symbols of
heroic communion.

A song lost to the crowds in


epistles agreed upon
by all peoples.

Words of life, exchanged in


a nod,
a second’s connection
then back to
each our own heads
towering with babble.

-April 1999

38
Found Poem

it’s alright to
dredge up times
of old again

so much skin
has been shed
since then

some sediment
of self
now memory

All history in
buried cell
sings again
to lose the apathy!

these layers
all onion-peeled
day-by-day

breathe fire
singing their own
obituary

-12th October 2000

39
worn yellow word

yellow-edged paper worn with time and words.


five years passes quickly waiting for the world to happen
upon similar conclusions while remaining silent

blind and entombed in indiscernible red-brick houses all in row


or elsewhere into padded shelters dissimilar from neighbours
million dollar lean-to but all forged under predictable
suburban skies

these truths i inhabit still


housed in head and worn yellow scraps of paper
devising my own sincere mode of public speaking.

- 22nd April 2003

40
Uprising

The cry (of poetry, novel, or essay)


seeking uprising in
impatient heroics
to unify the sweat and blood
of all flesh, bone and breath
forgets we’ve never
been separate, just
hiding in the dark places
dreaming of mind.

-Eyes and ears full of


memory, blind
to feet below,
walk living streets
to the tune of
silent eternity.

-18 May, 2000

41
42
Michael Ferris – Biography

Born in 1975, Michael Ferris is originally from Nebraska, U.S.A


but has lived in Dublin, Ireland since September 1999.

He graduated from Hastings College, NE in 1997 with a B.A in


Philosophy but was to settle on poetry as his preferred medium.

His work takes reference from Western and Eastern Philosophy,


Religion, Mysticism, physics and the mass media in its struggle
to represent man's place as “a finite manifestation of the
infinite”.

-LRF

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