DMC Mixtapes Vol. 4: Blackbox Of the Apocalypse, or First Tarot Reading After the World Ends

I. the colonel / death
after Derek Archambault

it takes a lot for holy men to give up
               anything //
so i killed god (took ten thousand dead
men to pull the trigger)

the holster fit / the barrel echoed with smoke
               i looked a gunnéd man in his dimming eyes
& told him he’s just going to sleep //
i know what it is to be god

& i didn’t rest after //
               i still wake in the night,
remember the river dirt beneath
my fingernails // the blood, same as mine,

               & weep


II. the fool / the fool

a vulture kettles alone behind a trash can
               & debris of Before //
a reverend & a sinner stand at one o’clock.
               holy man holds a bag / looks like snow //
the vulture is just pecking around
               behind the trash can /// still
there is time for our vices /// of course
               a man would think himself god / what kind
of reverend carries around bags of snow / & how
               on earth does he keep them cold?


III. the reverend / the hierophant

& when the light bubbles up / a fish
jumping out of its home & into brief death //
a light shooting toward another light
a new terrestrial holding its gut // heart //
in place; the lake is gone & not gone /
               & if my body is the Red Sea
flooding / a basin of dead dirt /
               the light that is & isn’t
inside of me / is a burning bush
& i am standing on fire / i am a waterless
               lake
on fire
                              bigger
                              than god


IV. the sinner / the hanged man

it’s like everyone is watching you /
some big gut machine with hundreds
of wide open eyes / & it’s watching you
despite the great big nothingness

it’s like being made of paper & not burning
& burning / in a shopping bag in a barrel & well
it’s like when you’re close to knowing hope
fulfilled i only know wishes come true

because i sat wide awake
for the first thirty days of the apocalypse
& stared out a window of a crumbled building
all that was left was the window but i stared out

of it & into a field of ghosts & i still believe in nothing

               but sound //               ///

that’s how you know hope is real
it’s like being made of paper
well it’s like being tucked
into yourself // it’s like

having a wide enough wingspan
to reach everything & turn it to paper
it’s like being well perfectly folded
                     & still able

to fly


V. the old woman / the empress

i forget things // i used to
               before // but i still remember
sunday mornings after church // in the basement
               for coffee, simple pastries, fellowship — these,
ingredients for the poor man’s brunch // & look
               at us now / worse off than a broken barn /
a table without chairs // where are we going
               if we’re not coming back? / i will stay
here / until my husband returns / or i find him
               dead as meat // until i am the last
               that’s left // now if you’ll excuse me,
                              i need to set
               the table


VI. the old man / the emperor

when a holy man hears that whistle //
                                             he runs
the tracks were the only sign / we were still //
               tiny statues, the only documented
deaths / if it don’t feel right, you ain’t read
               the bible enough

said

dogs aren’t vain enough
               to name themselves holy
but men are // at the end of the world,
               one in the same / now
how they’re tripping over railroad spikes
               too busy running away & looking skyward
to find god & their good books hurling
               themselves beneath–

               & when that freight train church bell
sounds / when the air smells like the dust
                              from a walking man’s boot soles // you move
               closer // & lie down
                                             lie down


VII. the artist / the hermit
after Ellyn Touchette

               do not ask me what is fair //
               i am the only one who will not
               appoint myself god //

               nor would god agree
               with me // because god
               is a train without brakes

               god is the glowing television
               & i am writing god down
               rewinding a railroad

               is tough business
               that’s why i kept
               the book

               of pencils // god is a lot
               of pieces of loud metals
               that grind against & together

               the sparks are the answer
               the rust is the answer
               the shreds of paper

               flying out from beneath god
               are the answer // god
               is electric & ancient

               god can go & go
               god’s home is inside of miles
               you can’t get to god’s house

               without jumping


VIII. the architect / tower
__________ indicates static in the tape

_______ ask me // we should _______
               but _______ you are _______ this //
i am dead // _______ i can’t remember /
                              if i am _______ or if
               i jumped // there is no blueprint
for _______ the world // i didn’t account
                               _______ // the buildings _______

                                             gone /// the key
               to the tower _______

                                             ______________
               paper _______ a heaven // i didn’t consider

                                             ______________

god // me / at the top of the _______
                              am i flying // ______________

                              _______ so high up
                                             i can see everyth ______________

_____________________


IX. the scholar / justice

the rain was only ink / smudges
               from a Revelation // someone had once
& was bold enough to write down /
                              i have already forgotten
               too much // i have no use for a wingless
body //

                              if Eden is not an accident //
                                             it must be a train station

               gilded & humming
filled with soil & steel
                              & out the window,

                              it rested on the tracks

               till god came

                              & the tiny paper feather
                                             quivered //
                                             into flight


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About lauren elma frament

lauren elma frament is originally from deep in the woods, but now lives in manchester, nh. she likes going to punk shows & playing instruments. she thinks you're pretty cool. View all posts by lauren elma frament

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