This Godforsaken World

“And Jacob left Beer-sheba,
and he went to Charan.” (Genesis 28:10)

Part I

Man, clothed in the radiance
    of his impenetrable white-light lab coat,
          doesn’t wear it loose but
          lets it hang way past the floor
    into the earth’s core.

Surgical tools
    trace dotted lines around
       an entangled constellation of form –
           swirls of breaths and pauses –
       a garden of stars, a garment of galaxies –
spiraling into humanity’s woodchipper.

Vulcanized smoke
       emanates from the subtle collision
           of sutures upon a DNA strand.
The infinite double helix Penrose staircase
       drowning in cosmic quicksand,
           rips the conjoined twins of existence,
      dispels the constellation of form.

Pollution spews
       from the driftwood
           residue of willowed limbs,
fallen angelic lepers
       wailing denial of corrosion.

                                     Yet silenced
in the echo chamber of the universe…

The silver umbilical cord stretches
          across the chalkboard of empty space –
       into my body,
          but spans a length immeasurable
beyond the surgeon’s cloak.

      a nuclear firestorm,
    combustible from conception –
                               now    upon us


       Hails a voice from the chamber.

A whistle penetrates the blissful keep,
            signifying destruction…

Coiled serpent
        shot through this web
          of pristine diamonds
                their gradient daze departing.
        The reverberating chord of E minor
            flatlines to white noise.

Blinking bombs,
       cups brimming over assiduous dust,
Sizzles through the veins
         of the willow tree,
      Thrust against the blackboard
reflection of INFINITY!

O, Man-made culture
    Sharp, vicious, venomous as Ockham’s razor
Unleashed havoc, encasing
   glass-chained wild doves—

O, You’re blowing me coronal mass ejected kisses
– cuts the umbilical cord I cry,
    “God, don’t forsake me!”

Shrapnel tears the silver thread which
      tethered my spirit to Yours.

My prostrated pulse of chest-throned repentance
     beseeching with un-waver-ing for-give-ness
but, gripped by reflective isolation,
        Reminiscence ignited by Bomb
Whose Name demon-straightened doom
             upon non-existence.
    Combustion personified in mere-oracle conception

O,     I awaken
    as light twinkles
            flickering in and out, as though
   I had experienced lightning.

Shrapnel in my red-liquored locus,
            taking my first


          Shrapnel in me,

YOU – you, Man! – have torn your godly image to pieces

    and along with me

YOU – You, God! – have torn Your Self into a peace time –


        a clock on the wall

        in the hospital hall

   where I am born

into this godforsaken world…


Part II

A moldy-beaded crystal cobweb
        Ensnaring clarity, o poignancy! –
        An Art! A Justice! fatigued itself
        into money laundering disease
        And chaos! A vacant room in a hotel
        A silent street bustling on the 405 –
           lying! Lying!
        Lying awake at night! As a result of deeds
        Done! acts impossible to correct, lest
                  Corruption be un-awakened!
        O, awareness of depression! O you man!
        O, blasphemous shadow of the waking martyr!
        As invasive as open-heart surgery – and thus!
Thus! He disrupts a stroll of mother and son, her twelve-year-old
        Scholar! Her sovereign protector! Her zen master teacher
        Her limelight of knowledge! Her way out – her escape
        Her stroll! Her buoyancy to stay afloat without stripping
        Hope naked! And disrobing morals – and thus!
Thus! Temptation a devil, a malice for red-liquored stale ideas,
        one drop of blood stains the entire glass structure into descent
        of mountaintops! their snowy struck a match and lit themselves on fire
        with the wind echoing denial of the descried angels upon conception of
MAN ! He, an officer of service, enforcer of pure
        perturbations of master physics, of optimal nonsense!
        of treating eyes as witness infallible!
MAN ! He, at jury, all the seats reasoning his mind to NEVER
        let himself be held in contempt of moving mountains!


due to physics of dim-lit street,
        a walking clown house,
                undulating saliva
Salivating for        sativa        indica        crack        cocaine        heroin        meth
    ways to dull dreary travelers    with yoga-matted hair
Smothered          Red-Light          district
     navigating an abyss,
        wherein mother and son drank tombstone
     lost with God.

O MORNING! Never to come for boy drowned by false testimony!
O MORNING! Never to be held in the palms of his psalmic hands!
O MORNING! Never to live his dreams to be a quarterback!
        to rise among horses wild, free as doves who
        recovered god’s grace in this godforsaken world!

O NIGHTFALL! Only to be disguised upon a slave – for
        mother’s true calling!
O NIGHTFALL! Only to awaken Mashiach!
O DARKNESS! Only to relish the taste of freedom,
        the mist of burnt almonds, that universal smell
        of wrestling against the eschewal of FREEDOM!

FREEDOM! LET IT DIE! Speaks the gun of stone and mud,

FREEDOM! LET IT DIE! Tosses fentanyl to the impoverished,
        soon-to-be homeless, paraplegic man on the corner

FREEDOM! LET IT DIE! the words of bullets become the Hand
        of God, as he sprays erudite meanderings of xenophobia!

FREEDOM! LET IT DIE! this spiritualist Hand prophesizes job
        assigned to the passage of time, to elongate his nail-knives
        connected to his dim-lit red-light street-walker face
        to ascend heavenward and pluck out eyelashes
        that whipped him into egg-whisked birth,
        that bathed him in the darkness of forgetting

FREEDOM! LET IT DIE! snowy shadow dark as the looming night,
        black-white piranhas, yin-yang signs, foreclosure notice signatures,
        chiseled by Ockham’s razor-sharp teeth of the two-headed fish,
        the coin, the dollar bill, capitalist leaf-lets zen koans and haikus be
        chiseled into stone-marble
        leaves world rustling against trees, green-river-dollar-sign-polluted
        polls of populace, telephone pole to God emptied and drunk by Man,
        He the officer, personified Lust, gargles godly heroin shining!
        Speaking those words of stone and mud!
        Spraying those spit-ball flames of Fireball, forests of what was once-
        NOW engulfed by black-hole, the void, the love-bulge against my
        Smothering lips speaking words of freedom! nestles the New Words of
        Hope, melting my toothache-fears at the back of my throat
        Man – gun bullet gun – Man – gun bullet gun –
        Echoing these New Words of Hope
        The chorus line, flatlined deer drops dead as teardrops descend
        Smacking pavement, my lips, his lips, our lips, Man’s lips –
        God slaughtered – with boy – and his mom, watching, sinking into the
        Soothed into chiming the words of the gun bullet gun.

        The gun bullet gun sings
        whistles, hums,

FREEDOM! LET IT DIE! the forest of bullets, the love-bulge against my uvula!
FREEDOM! LET IT DIE! bullets, opioidlike syrup, Syrian needle-dagger-faucet!
FREEDOM! LET IT DIE! Lust personified, political-megaphone, psychotic jazz
        Spoken by Lust’s toe, transubstantiated into the corpus of Christ, the corpus
        callosum of Christ, christens the toe into the pool of red-
        liquored stardust swirls…

                FREEDOM! LET IT DIE!
                        FREEDOM! LET IT DIE!

LET FREEDOM DIE! – issues the smoke singeing the essence of the LAW!
The mother singing along with the bullet gun god torn asunder by threads of
lives scattered among the truth of the New Words of Hope…along with this
– This LAW! An art long forgotten in this precipitous dew of bloodstains
that constitute the transition: the conjuring of NO REASON!
        The emission of thunder!
        Casting ire of perplexity –
        mother clasping son
        as they dive into the wet-dark abyss, the humble abode
                of dreary travelers.


Joshua Corwin, a Los Angeles native, is a neurodiverse, Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. His debut poetry collection Becoming Vulnerable (Baxter Daniels Ink Press, April 2020) details his experience with autism, addiction, sobriety and spirituality. He has lectured at UCLA, and his Beat poetry is to be anthologized alongside Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Hirschman, Michael C. Ford and the late Wanda Coleman and ruth weiss (Sparring Omnibus, Mystic Boxing Commission, forthcoming 2020). Corwin’s collaborative book Ghosts Sing into the World’s Ear, with Ellyn Maybe, is forthcoming later this year (Mystic Boxing Commission). He hosts the poetry podcast “Assiduous Dust” and teaches poetry to neurodiverse individuals and autistic addicts in recovery at The Miracle Project, an autism nonprofit.