End Time Race


a trail of flame
burns a path
to Elohim

fire on the left
dark plots on the right
and an Iron Cross
to pound bleeding hearts
into bloody stains

oh blessed Lord of lords
a thousand needling pricks
jabs black ink
onto white chests of soldiers mad
in spirit, eager fingers
triggering the gun-blast breath
of vengeful wrath
over the communism of oxygen
in our atmosphere

bless the charred unity
of fire’s disfigurement
in Oklahoma City
where bone fragments of children
hide like poisoned seeds
amidst the rubble

how else shall Cascadia
rise like Phoenix from the ashes
of His wholly deranged

where citizens are seen
as sovereign

an impossible purity
transforms their blood
to ice

while all around them
fire purges the countryside

—William Skink

  1. I understand that job of the poet is to write poetry and not to interpret it for us. This poem is littered with figurative imagery and it nags at me, almost as if I am close to understanding some of it, but not yet. It must be a very good poem, because reading it is like hearing voices in the next room, sensing the emotions but unable to make out the words. I

    I hope others can help me here.

  2. Turner

    Here’s my take on the poem.

    More than most of the Skink poems I’ve read, this poem is less about overheard voices than the oracular voice of the speaker himself.

    The speaker seems to be offering a warning about “sovereign citizen” radicals in our country, intent on a white man’s Christian utopia (Cascadia) that will be free of liberals since “bleeding hearts” are to be vanquished by “an Iron Cross.” Since their ideological purity has turned their blood to ice, they view Timothy McVeigh’s act of terrorism as necessary – “how else shall Cascadia rise . . .?”

    Their tatted up warriors, their white chests having received numerous needle pricks, are ready for war against the “communism of oxygen,” an interesting image capturing the right-wing obsession with actual communism and the disdain for clean air because it is so valued by liberal environmentalists.

    • Thank you Turner. That is really helpful, to see it through someone else’s eyes.

    • lizard19

      I appreciate your interpretation, Turner. I don’t think it’s necessarily the poet’s place to say yes or no to meaning. that said, your reading of this poem and the author’s “intent” closely align ;)

      • Turner

        There used to be a debate over the so-called “intention fallacy.” I wasn’t very interested in it. Sometimes poets aren’t reliable interpreters of their own work, especially looking back on it after a period of time, but I’ve written enough poetry to know that I’m happiest when my purpose and the product of that purpose align.

  3. steve kelly

    Caricachure, no? Not the only “Cascadia” being considered by humans living in the bioregion.

    Article IV, Section. 3, Clause 1 of the United States Constitutions reads: New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

    How radically “constitutional.” “Secessionist” movements may not be so crazy after all when considering the relentless attacks by Empire on soverign nations and all forms of dissent.

    How should we organize when nation states are dissolved? Should we wait until it happens to discuss what happens next in the event of a meltdown?

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