Gargoyle 11
cover etching by Scott McIntyre
publication date 5/25/1979


As He Ascended

Jesse Glass

            As He ascended into the clouds He shook
His bloody hands & feet
           & out shot feathers
plucked from the head of that infinite Bird
that created all things
(Gnostics & Alchemists knew this fact.)
           from His side as if from the side of a
ripped pillow
           red feathers fell in showers
that fluttered over places unknown
to Josephus & Paul & Tacitus & Luke
           each feather rocking between the THEN
& the COMING on a rush of NOW.

            As the Bird hid its head under a wing
            a feather landed on a Paleozoic beach
beside the bones of a jawless fish;
            with the beating of the wings of the Bird
            a feather landed at the base of the Great Pyramid
to be rolled into a dungball by a scarab beetle;
with the ascension of Christ into heaven
a feather landed in the crater Tycho
to await the coming of Man;
            & a feather fell in America to be snatched
up by a pair of taloned hands
            & a feather fell in England at the feet of
a mad poet who used it to write polemics against industry
            & a feather fell in Africa where it was
lost among a million other exotic feathers
            & a feather fell in Antarctica where it was
frozen in a glacier that will not melt until the end
of the world
            & a feather fell in Hiroshima but it was blown
into atoms
           & a feather fell on your dinner plate, but you
declined to eat it because it was a feather
           & a feather fell into your livingroom & you picked
it up with a wad of tissue paper blaming the cat or
the dog

            & a feather fell into your bathtub while you
were bathing & you noticed that it was becoming
colorless & its dye was turning your water red

            & a feather fell between you & your wife while
you were fucking & you thought the blood was hers
            & a feather fell into the front seat of your car
            & lodged in the crease in the seat
            & a feather fell in your room & you used it as
a bookmark in the collected works of Jesus Blake
            & a feather fell onto the tennis court but you
decided not to play tennis that day
            because that was the day that a feather fell
on the heads of every one of the children of all children
of every child that ever will be born

             & that was the day that a single feather will
land on an assembly line & cause one blond-haired boy &
one retarded woman to inspect what they will be doing
             & decide against it & walk out leaving the assembly
             line churning like a sick ourobos
             & that was the day that a single feather will feed
             & that was the day that a fossilized feather will be
dug up in the same strata as a trilobite, & pronounced
             & that was the day that a cigar-shaped UFO
will be sighted over New York & Moscow simultaneously,
with a feather painted on its side
             & that was the day that a feather will be found
on the moon
             & that was the day that a fragment of the
True Feather will be dug up in a junkyard in Paterson,
New Jersey
            & that was the day that the feather will lie down
with the lamb
            & that was the day that a feather will fly out of
the mouths of little children
            & that was the day that the sun will turn
black & the stars will fall like feathers
            & the angels will come down accompanied
by sleeping Jesus who will carry a sword in his right hand
that will look surprisingly like a feather

             & Jesus will say in His sleep: "find all
the feathers"
             & one angel will go down into Hell looking
for feathers & will suddenly discover that he belongs

             & another angel will dive into the ocean
& gather all lost feathers, pulling them from the
wings of drowned sailors
             & another angel will divide himself into atoms
& go searching for the feathers that were destroyed in
atomic wars
             & another angel will dive straight into the sun
& find 69 feathers there
             & another angel will crawl into the wombs
of all women & find feathers
             & another angel will say: "We have found all the
feathers" but Jesus will say: "No, there are more"
             & the angels will look at one another & say:
"but we searched everywhere"
             & Jesus will say: "Look in your hearts"
             & the angels will lie down one after the other
on a wooden table & Christ will open their hearts & they
will see their feathers

             & these feathers will look like true feathers
while the other ones will only resemble feathers in name
             then Christ will say:
             "there will be many in the last days who will
come unto me saying Lord Lord; & I will answer them:
I know not ye, get thee hence, & there will be the sound
of weeping & the gnashing of feathers"
             & the angels will praise God with the feather
& the harp
             while the Great Bird nested in eternity
strikes its naked wings above the ages.