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Wine Country Fires, California

wildfire wine

                  A wineless man on your seat of native rock.
                              -Oedipus at Colonus

October 2017

When anger flames in torrid waves,
      Component fires and torrid ash,
      The wine that rivers ocean’s crush
      Beneath the land beneath our flesh
Embroils its blood in soil that drives
Imbibing tongues in speechless droves
      To writhe and rave like Tantalus
            At all that frank and fruitless fall survives.

The flow of sweetest liquor from out
      The arteries of Bacchus to veins
      Of Hades’ quenchless burning vines—
      Now hush our wish in panic winds
That lust for soot and loss. By sweat
And brow each duct and gland is sweet
      As ash to taste—and snapping seines
            Are sorrow’s final scenes erupting from the fruit.

When fury cruises the rooted ferrules
       Of California hills, each crest,
      A purple burn now bruised by fist
      And kick of flame, jets a tempest
That slows the dribble of stolen jewels;
And diamondbacks now rue their rule
Of descending ocean-greens which fuel
      A rattled jujube forest
            With gimcrack roots like crucibles crossed—

The dials of day shatter the sun
      And splice the starry dais of night
      Into Persephone’s inferno, hot
      And swift to wilt with volcanic hate.
With flaring dragons’ wings one
Wincing and glancing ember can spin
      The worms of circumstance to cut
            Antigone’s acres from vintage possession.

Thus, a subterranean succubus
      And its phantom spirits drain away
      While Ariadne’s leafy array
      Collapses: a funereal display
Of scorched heddles and phoenixes—
Tarantula winds now spin and truss
      The trellised moments, fruit as fey
            As tragedy’s sightless path to Colonus.

When sparks at root engender quick
      And truncated lightning, a satanic drop
      Of flammable fruit, its molten sap
      Melts these pacific sands. The map
And glass that chart the fickle rock
Of feckless Sisyphus now trick
      To cull the strangling spill and slip
      Of sloughing dust, a chaos sifting at our back.

When raging nature’s racing wind
      Draws a crop of glimmering flint
      And slashes this flashing monument
      To the palisades of time, spent
With flowing ebb, the tide is spanned
And cursed with spawning cinder’s brand,
      The heaven-falling harvest bent
            To hold us fast and take our final stand.

Still, netting proof’s reproof
      The eye that hangs by lash and lid
      Is witness to the arid mood
      Now sere with smoking wands of wood;
Our hands now poised to grope in love
Another mothering flame—from roof
      To groin—now wineless, blind and sad
            As Oedipus—house-erect yet fathering a grave.

Comments

  1. Big Jon Bully says:

    I think that was a good one.

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