27 February 2013

Shall Have Inquisitions--a poem

Shall Have Inquisitions (sound file, mp3)

"The thought belongs to only a few hundreds of people." Ezra Pound

The dream:
Desire unfettered and fulfilled,
To realize your singularity,
Coerce the self into
The belief that this is all for you,
Acts vile and sublime
Of endless variety, endlessly satisfying,
Another cereal box prize
Is not so much to beg of

Humanity, the illusion of right action
is found only by intellection--
hardly anywhere outside of apologetics:
of column inches and statistics
the hoard is un-
that is
you are barbarously stupid
may-be not you, but you, and you, and you, and you...
have you thought rum (and cola) was Providential poison?
inquisitions are pornography (this tit for that tat)
and the human fantasy writhes to
burn the world, to burn
people by magnification:
at least it's (technically) more humane than

(more ecologically sound)

...the inebriety
of mechanical efficiency
the excitement

a lit fuse
to sparking...

Oh the cleanliness:
to burn
for the sake of shoots
purer by



The desire to coerce the acts of another  is evil.  Every ethical thought is of slow growth; it has taken at least thirty years to suggest the thought that the desire to coerce the acts of others is evil.  The thought belongs to only a few hundreds of people.  Humanity is hardly out of the thought that you may have inquisitions and burn people at stakes....

The bulk of scholarship has gone under completely; the fascinations of technical and mechanical education have been extremely seductive (I mean definitely the study of machines, the association with engines of all sorts, the inebriety of mechanical efficiency, in all the excitement of its very rapid evolution).


  1. a very strong beginning. bring out your sword. you have. i think the line: "is not so much to beg of Evil" calls for a stronger, more explanatory verb. ...to beg ....to beg ... to ?

    "inquisitions are pornography..." a compelling three words, but inquisitions into what, by whom? should i care? if the masses are not questioning, is the poet who is doing the inquisition and is his/her work seen as rank?

    you reference Pound post-poem, but I don't think you need to provide an explanation at the end. a woman i know who edits poetry says a poem should not need an explanation. it is a work of art. tho, i see how your reference provided you the launching point. do credit the first line to ezra.

    when i read it to myself, i "heard" the parenthetical phrase (more ecologically sound) with an ironic, comedic note. but you don't read it like that. it is a much more serious aside than my take.

    "for the sake of shoots..." i'm lost in your last stanza. help me. flesh it out.

    did i bring my sword?

  2. hmmm...the note re: pound is just there as a blog note, not a part of the poem proper...a gloss of sorts if you will to show anyone who cares where I stole most of this from.

    the first stanza is entirely ironic. after pound's "hundreds" and the takeaway from Morse Peckham that the enlightenment was not a "mass" movement but only occurred within very few souls I offer "the dream"--it itself a "vile" act. Cereal Box Banality of Evil. As for "so much" versus "too much"--this is meant to force your question. What am I asking? That I can beg more of Evil? That Evil can offer more? Rather that Evil has so much more to offer? Or that this is just the beginning of the offer?

    Inquisitions...the asking and seeking...but mostly a ferreting out of the heretic.

    Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642): "Give me six lines written by the most honorable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him."

    Nature "purges" her dead wood to offer life to the "shoots" of saplings.

    This is always the reactionary--purge what is unclean, unholy, to leave the "purity" of, normally, racial dominance.

    We kill in the name of the highest most exalted beings...

    But in the end, as in the beginning, I purge all others so that it is only my dream that survives.

  3. and yes, (more ecologically sound) is ironic, but I don't know if it needs to sound so as much as "be" so such as the rest of the parentheticals. they are all of a piece in this sense.

  4. Further, "coerce" in pound is asserting that "others" coerce us and that is evil. however, that is the very ground of our living at least it is as a governed populace, at least it is within the context of language--power by law by the word.

    social life is always a kind of coercion isn't it? but still worse is the self-delusion--that it is ourselves that allow and abet the coercion.