There is a world coming that should be.
I can see it.
It’s close to being the world we have
But different in some important ways:
More food for the hungry,
Less gas and oil and meaningless death and wars,
Oh, I already said that, more love.
And let it be soon
Before it’s too late
And the door closes
For the creation of would-be worlds.
But whether there is a new world
The time for the end to this old world has arrived
With a clap of thunder,
So loud it makes your brain go numb.
It makes your ears ring
Like the great gong
In the courtyard of a Buddhist temple
To an ant climbing on the gong,
When the gong is struck 33 times
For the 33 faces of the Buddha.
Help me see this world!
Help me paint this new world large!
How about these colors?
Dip your brush deep:
For the desert, orange-rose,
Seaglass-green and ochre for the roofs of the village,
For the clouds, purple and blue,
Red and cerulean-blue for the dragon tumbling out of the clouds,
Diving into a wide plain of waving grass.
Finally, signs of the old world ending:
Swimming pools overflowing
With swimmers swimming across
The barren land for their lives.
Bad people shrinking,
One centimeter a day until they reach the size of ants
And disappear into tiny cracks in the earth.
Good people growing
In beauty and stature.
And suddenly everyone knows how to dance!
This new world may not be for you;
Just wait and see how you like it.
There can be other new worlds.
We’ll just pick the one that we like best.
See that deer
It looks fake but its real.
She is saying,
It will be OK.
Finally, listen and you will hear
The breeze rehearsing the tenth prophesy.
It sounds like an old New Yorker,
Someone from Brooklyn,
Like one old man to another on a park bench.
Now turn and watch those pigeons
Take wing over the traffic
Their white underwings catching the sunlight.
It breaks my heart to say this
But you old world corporate hustlers
Have run out of love.
Here’s how it’s going to be for your next incarnation,
So listen up!
Remember the jet that landed on the Hudson?
(Who doesn’t remember the jet that landed on the Hudson!)
It was a flawless landing.
The exit hatch opens over the wing
On the Manhattan side,
And the passengers gracefully descend the great wing
Of the slowly sinking jet.
It’s as if they rehearsed their escape
A thousand times
So it’s beautiful and flawless.
(Their voices randomly amplified like wild geese.)
But instead of what they did next,
Which, personally, I don’t remember,
You will spread your wings,
You will circle the big silver sinking jet
Before you form a perfect V
And disappear over the city,
That’s how the old world will end
For the new world that should be
And it will end a million other ways.
I don’t really care how it ends.
As long as it is poetry
And as long as it is beautiful
I came across the title-phrase somewhere, in something that I was reading, but I don’t recall where or I would give the writer credit, but I was drawn to the awkwardness of the wording. And that gave me permission to write the whole poem a little awkwardly, like a kid that is in the midst of a growth spurt. This poem is about a world that is anxious to get here, so it is full of lots of incongruous elements, like a Max Ernst collage. And I wanted to show creation coexisting with the passing of the old, and I felt so sure that the old is finally passing that I wanted to try to see the beauty and poetry of its passing.