The Meaning of the Mob

(I wrote this piece, “The Meaning of the Mob,” over a decade ago, but felt moved to share, because words bridging action matter.)
The Meaning of the Mob. I say, the Mob, meaning
the Definitely Uncertain, Fixed—a liberal form of physics—
or the clotted swarm wallforming brick by brick,
a mosaic pattern. Pick a number, any number, it’s a given.
A given what, you say, a given that, heads together, mindless, will make of a stone’s throw a hard cold pledge—
Indivisible, in Mob We Trust.
Meaning the Mob
made of a stone’s throw a lottery-like contest,
one hurl after the next,
snuffing out solitary skull-candles
in the name of making nameless a victim
swallowed by sand.
And blood. And the song sung not unlike syncopated tocks of a rockingchair horror-christened,
the chant a band of hands knotted together:
In Mob We Trust . . . In Mob We Trust . . .
circling the victim,
swallowed by sand. And blood.
And it was black. It was black and they couldn’t see . . . and the track like that of an animal’s . . . they couldn’t see . . . it was black . . . and they couldn’t see . . . the moon—Mack the Knife, the Fat Pope, the Poet’s Dream—blacked out . . . they couldn’t see . . . so it was only . . . natural.
Lit to burn off black skin, to burn black the chant—we win! we win!—to burn black the black, cuz sin-cleansing be the business of townsfolk
assimilating a godgiven blank,
and black the blues’d but not broken souls stolen from split dawns,
cleaving huddled crying masses,
brothers and sisters adrift in salted storms—
and give us your poor! your huddled masses!—
but so many vessels disappeared never washed ashore.
aflutter on treelimb’s sway,
a savage prop, deformity of art,
shaped by mindless mob
in the shame of God.
Meaning, unclear,
cuz faces meld milky into a blur,
murder repetitively attempted
on Life of Self
identity melt
sharing cold common turf,
lesser themselves they become
closer to None,
the birth of myopic nations,
D.W. Griffith racist,
history’s torn pages—
and in Bethlehem same as Alabama
a blood-born photo-op for the swarm-ready faceless.
treason’s gotta be a no-brainer,
lest the rule of the roost is jeopardized:
lest we cry a million broken cradles
for the Sheperd boy, the blackskinned angels, the crossbearing toy—
of a god, a whim, a fate—
an overwrought lie
sold and bought
down the river
and everybody knows, everybody knows, everybody knows,
all rivers lead to seas,
but how sweet the amnesia
when nobody knows, nobody knows, nobody knows,
the troubles we’ve seen,
on the surface of deepsea oilslicked, clot-heavy,
and holding in its crotch—
a thousand and three grieving mermaids.
everybody knows
nobody knows
who fo sho knows
a fist is an infant afraid to flower:
hour by hour,
the sand’s slip quakes the legs of littleones with boombox-glued-ears, hearing:
You’ve gotta fight the power,
you’ve gotta fight the powers that be.
Chuck D. leading the charge of a million-starred march,
walk the talk grind-frictioning sparks,
to start a campaign against
light on dark topfucking,
and these days better tomorrows,
for one and all,
means mob mentality’s gotta liberate the link from the chain—
changing the face of the faceless, naming the unnamed—
and in this I need to believe,
dissolving the meaning of the mob
into bridges bonding one soul to the next,
a show of hands linked by breath
and a show of respect
where a love supreme is given a chance
to ripen and seed its wilds anew.

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, performer, and playwright, John Biscello, has lived in the high-desert grunge-wonderland of Taos, New Mexico since 2001. He is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables, which were paired with the vintage illustrations of artist, Paul Bransom, for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ.
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