Paradise Now Book 1


To feel as if you do belong,
You must sing a happy song
And smile and nod and be involved
With all the problems to be solved.
You must pretend there's nothing wrong,
Until your senses are aroused
To some infringement of the law
Of common human decency,
At which point the thing to do
Is fly into a righteous rage or two.

Shadows of drowned orphans seep through the walls
Late at night, and when I touch the buggers
They tense up, frightened of affection.
I know they are orphans because they plead
With me to adopt them as a sort of
Surrogate Reaper, who also attends
The nightly dust-ups with this addiction.
But He like that my fingers pry His spine:
He masturbates into the sands of time;
as God shoots wrath into the orphans' hair.

Whose life might I hack today?
Will she keep the hounds at bay?
Will she mutter in her sleep
That her soul is mine to keep?
Will she see the things I can't
And polish them to lustre brite?
If you someone belittle does,
It's because they want to screw
With your mind or body fayr—
Beware, bold usurpers, beware.

She finds me handsome, I think she's hot:
Doesn't matter if the two of us are not.
Something has come up in my life this afternoon.
She's maintaining the landscapes,
Buttressing the crumbling domes,
Finagling all the language deals
To make me feel right at home.
I must somehow pull back her drapes
And pluck the poison from her heart,
Like sucking voltage through a fart.

The she to whom I now refer is someone new,
A better or-else: So good in fact it is profane
To scribble lines about her for my fame.
Moving on, then, to the tragic minutia scolding
Grandiosities as if waves of tradition
Pollute the cutting edge which borders
All limits of propriety and then of a sudden,
Allusions to phenomena erupt in the distance,
Turning giblets into mincemeat,
forcing voices down our throats!

And with the latest parting of the sea
Come hand in hand a million mollusks:
The part of me I've come to know so well
And Satan's puppet, who has come to be
A vast conspiracy of the most obscene
Foundations anyone could e'er believe.
A crusted can of bubbling lacerations
Is orbited by vacuities which sustain
No life, dense rocks that bounce off colleagues' heads
In grim resolve to keep our eyes on space.

I do not want to go outside today—
The same as every other day, this want
May be because I live somewhere I don't
Belong, or that nothing belongs to me.
But that is what I have so long dreamed of:
To be free! Be careful what you wish for.
To soothe myself while on the train, I think:
Not one of us will be around quite soon,
But knowing we are doomed to die does not
bring cheery colors to a fading sky.

A waxed, and red, and crunchy piece of fruit
Is she. Goddam it! Come on, bro: You can
Do better than that. When in Paradise,
Don't return the blissful glances in kind.
Instead, piss on the cigarettes and nod
Approvingly at bare-legged mini-skirts.
But always pay attention to the things
She says, for she wants someone to listen,
And that is what you're there for. Be stolid—
Be sure your arm is strong enough to squeeze.

To write a poem is kind of like swimming
In crystal clear waters with mines down deep.
You know they're there, but it's best to ignore
Their menacing presence: Stick to snorkel-
Ing, lest you sink into the darker depths,
Where hidden truths reveal themselves in code,
And the mines begin to nibble on you,
Taking what they need away from your soul,
Until the fact of their presence shuts down
Any reason for sinking deeper down.

So then, keep sated! Eat the food and drink
The stiff drinks, talk the walk and walk the talk,
Say what you mean and mean what you intend.
You're nothing more than a machine, pumping
And churning out the detritus of time:
By staying busy, you will surely feel
As if all you do will matter not just
To you, but to everyone in your phone.
But beware the men whose teeth are too white,
For they might convince you of anything.

by Tyler Martin

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