Jan/Feb 2001  •   Poetry

Two Poems

by John Hanson

My Life as A Teenage Nazi

When Hans Hoffmann magnified his photograph
Of a Vienna mob cheering war's August glory of gas and genocide,
Among the small faces
All clustered like hornets around a bole,
He found an unknown man with occult dreams
Wandering in a whorish city
His incest dreams rotten with desire,
Crowd-mothered, Hitler stood there.

Long distance calls to Arlington, Virginia,
As George Lincoln Rockwell sucked his corncob pipe,
Cracker boys wore the swastika and Stars and Bars.
Storm trooper Art Brill poured out his pimpled patriotism,
Spitting cornbread as he bellowed "Sieg heil!"

In the gaze of grainy death squad photos,
Among the rows of shamed, naked peasants,
In the leer of the executioners,
Aloft in the sex chemistry of black boots,
I left my uncertain body.

Entranced at Kaltenbrunner's sabre-scarred cloracne,
Streicher's skin-stretched head,
Saukel's drooling sneer and Heydrich's pale falcon nose,
Rouged, morphined Marshall Goering, the dull cyanide stare of Himmler,
The shaggy cliffs shadowing the eyes of Rudolf Hess.

I stared into the cold bronze eagle's eye,
All, all alone,
Illumined by the yellow, waxy light of a human lampshade
Tattooed with a Polish angel in flight.


The Recurrent Dream

It dreams me, dropping me weightlessly,
Feeling nothing,
In breaking facial bones and bouncing to the pavement,

Rising again
To the edges of gray ledges,
To the pit of yawning stairwells,
To windy, silent rooftops.
Falling over and over,
The toy of a child slamming ants with a brick.

Where does the labyrinth of gray unmarked streets end?
Who hears the soundless hiss of obsidian releasing red liquid sheets,
A place where small creatures are dismembered,
Where puppies with human faces are struck by cars
Driven by faceless people?

Who lives in the empty mazes, deserted apartments, and frigid rooms
Where stains on the wall are all that remain of their visitors?
Who is walking the long, dim halls, carrying severed hands in a bag?