ABSHERON

susan smith nash

 

Bones poured like wax gone bad,

I descended into the fire; my personal fear comes alive

in this ravine curling sidelong the highway

 

flames leap from the asphaltic shale

an artesian well of fire

 

I think Johnny  Cash & Zarathustra;

did my dad & Nietzsche have so much in common?

Ring of Fire & Self-Overcoming

gales cannot extinguish this blaze of glory

& associated smells; Oklahoma oil in a jar from the Hunton formation

my dad talking about the well near the Wynnewood refinery

& my brother sneaking charred hotdogs off the backyard grill

 

all the while, I'm here in the Absheron Peninsula, knowing

Ive been here before; many times

 

We are nearing an ancient temple

Zoroastrians worshipped this same eternal flame

two thousand years ago, muffled by paisley carpets

 

Good vs. Evil

weavers repeated flames

in infinite tones of scarlet, burgundy, & simple red

my aunt served her daughter's wedding cake on silver

saved by an uncle who said Berlin was like Dresden

fire bombing was a terrible way to discipline a city

some streets burned for days, asphalt ignited

where water had been long supplanted by dirt & defoliated dreams

 

my heart burns

my head erupts in paisley

 

just that small fact that history changes

but the same earth burns

the true good is in the flame itself

purity comes from the inner core of fire

 

thousands of years, we sometimes discover the ancient truths

sometimes not

 

its just that now I see the way history was & will always be

& my bones weep

like wax

passed close to the flame

 

--- january 17, 2000