James Scully  


Great Wave


we saw the world end

in a ball of fire


two balls of fire

& puffs of dust

outrunning gravity

blowing off

the laws of physics


2 planes took out 3 towers

it was a miracle it meant

anything can happen


in reality

it was the Middle Ages

mind-bending demons & wonders

mounting a comeback


the Enlightenment

was shockt it decayed

into too many words

with too little to say


brain waves heart rhythms

emanations of the flesh

mirrors of the soul

warped that day

ashen darkness paling away

like the great wave of Hokusai,

the vast horde of its waters

storming up & over

the little fishermen

in their little boats


Mount Fuji shines

in distance

white & serene


. . . we woke

to fire & smoke

small bodies on TV

holding hands

walking out of windows



give up their ghosts

over & over

on TV after TV

spewing toxic dust

haunting down the day

of panicked faces, eyes

running half looking back

at the science fiction

choking their streets . . .


Hokusai’s fishermen cling

to the gunnels

of their slender boats


the Great Wave

the menace

& beauty of it

hanging over them


is as perfect & as still

in its blackness & blueness

as Fuji in the brilliance

of its canopy of snow


it is what it is


here nothing is


we have learned to read miracles

as the signs of a conspiracy


we have managed to live

with murder & torture

in the name of a homeland

we have never lived in


trapped in a web

of blood-&-soil

fear like a filthy sack

pulled down over our heads--


we will never now not see

human beings rendered

walking on air, as though

treading the heaviness of water

feeling for the bottom

for all to see

the dignity the immensity

of their death, & of their littleness


against the spectacle

of the New American Century

where the world we knew ended

—floor by screaming floor—

in the first murders of the terror war




from Oceania 2008

OCEANIA a sheaf of poems Azul Editions 2008.jpg

Oceania a sheaf of poems
 Azul Editions 2008

Woodblock print

Hokusai’s “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa”