This entry is part 29 of 42 in the series Antiphony: Paul Zweig


I’m reading Paul Zweig. This is the eleventh poem in the third (“Eternity’s Woods”) section of his Selected and Last Poems, followed by my response. See here for details on this experiment in responsive reading.

The Art of Sacrifice
by Paul Zweig

Our breath on the altar is offered in love.
The fuck-you we smile is offered in love.

[Remainder of poem removed 11-18-05]

* * * *


The yogi who fears the little death of ejaculation
treats every release of his semen as a sacrifice.
Beyond the bliss of union, he seeks power:
flight; perfect foresight; invisibility;
the ability to possess a body
as the gods do, lording it over the tongue.
He chants religious verses as he comes,
oh light, oh ether.

There are no magic powers, there is no little death,
there is only a letting-go – however fleeting –
of that death-grip in which we hold
our precious ones & zeros,
Shiva, Gauri.

In the half-light, half-dark of dawn,
headlights on the new highway
outshine the moon that hangs full in the cleft
they used to call Skytop,
oh father-face offered into the mother-face.

Beyond building highways, the engineer seeks
a world that yields and merges
with the flawless model.
But moving the mountain laid open
countless veins of pyrite.
That rent web of fool’s gold
now bleeds acid into two trout streams,