4 X KENT JOHNSON


Killers Who Read


Unmoved, they sit, stuck in their betrayal of the dead,
The History of Fascism or Mussolini, Man or Myth,
easily digesting the immortal lies of their unfeeling forebears,
except in those rare instants when their thoughts overlap
that insistence of misery, unspoken but shrieking
from every page.  To become expert, to serve mammon 
and murder with equal enthusiasm, to devise the means
to an end of so many, to find a darkness in which to hide
the indifferent evil they direct at total strangers: the weak, 
the unprotected; and out of these grand wrecks of history 
to reconstruct a fictional past to mythologize the present
recurring genocide, events necessary to manufacture the
modern nightmares in which to regress and to prosper. 



Fireworks



the olive trees dot the straw colored field
the snow-like clouds pour down the mountain
the hot wind drums hard against the shutters
and the seaís late sun-splattered spray --
here aesthetics falter, speechless, trapped
in a continuous aria of swaying cedars and mauve
blush bougainvillea, the gold sea breaking blue.....

so what?  something in nothing?  let me now raise 
the uncertainty of certainty, that Katamono rocket 
bursting over the hill, the predictable choir of oohs 
and aahs of burning saltpeter, the incendiary and 
momentary choler, the excitement giving way to smoke?
still, the starburst refracts into uncountable shards,
each reflection isolated, alone and unique

the rocket-fired head bores into the coming crisis
of cornered focus, the inevitable reduction of
unmitigated force to minutiae and meanings
so far removed from fancy that whatís left
is just this awesome, empty eternity --
relentless, unfulfilled, the inevitable
stammer in the vast category of so much nothing.....

yet in this futility of making something from nothing
it occurs to me that it occurs to me, and, suddenly, I.


Strangers


who do we meet, then,
in the long shadows of evening
trailing along on the sidewalk, 
faces not yet visible?

in the frozen rapture of a thought
held captive by filtered moonlight
eyes peering through torn blinds
at the men and the woman

lying in my humid bed
hearing someone walking by
whistling just as an owl hoots
and the moon darkens

how anxious they are
to leave their bodies
to meet the same
unvarying emptiness 

Signorelli
said Freud

the where thatís here 
is always there,
the there thatís this
is always that, 
the that that isnít
is always where

On the balcony in Rimini
watching the Adriatic Ė
one wave, and then another,
	and another . . . 




[untitled]



For far too long thunder crashed in his head,
a roaring lion paced through his coursing blood,
a hyena laughed over his hardened heart

so that he couldnít hear the sweet lyrics 
that his long history whispered to him 
of where he was, and why,  and who he was

and he couldnít see the darkness surrounding
each instant that hid from himself the features
of his distorted history or the contours of his face

he could only feel his molars grind the gristle,
to savor the salty blood mixing with his saliva,
ignoring the shrieks of his uncountable victims

as he ripped the warm flesh, his canines flashing
in the indifferent glare of a bone bleaching sun,
bright eyes above his bloody muzzle, relentless.