“My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” (arranged for Brazen Bull)
A Greek device used to torture . . . the Brazen Bull had an acoustic setup that converted human screams into the sound of a bull . . . [through] a complex system of tubes and stops — Medieval Chronicles
Bellow and bellicose and the men and the man’s crying on the stand red-faced arrogant even in distress are furnacing hot new foundries in the news melting the metals they have always melted and women are singing in the burning bronze and also and also me and the time I was six and twenty and twelve and forty and I believe and of thee I sing of the scared-into and the clamped-quiet woods of shame bottle shatter and condoms’ spent fireworks’ rocket-red glare in another song that is not the song the women sing in the key of keys-spiked-from-fists for the last three blocks and the dream of another door sweet land of liberty of thee of me in the burning beast where whoever stokes the fire and turns the knob is righteous is the liberty bell’s hard shell in the land of our fathers our fathers our fathers the clapper of the women’s laced boots the women’s high heels the women’s bare feet that do not sound like bells from inside that do not sound like singing but the snorting of ancient pipes to the tubes to the sky of I don’t believe and she was paid and she wants she only she sweet sweet land sweet lamb of a girl in the quiet that was never quiet in the prolonged burning of the woods and the rills that is just a pretty word for a stream where a girl should take off her clothes and the bull will come the bear will come in his suit of a beast and will be a prince inside so the girl should kneel to be pawed to be eaten to believe he is who he says he is and she should love him when he takes his fur off and her mortal tongue should wake to sing as it melts of the pilgrims’ pride that she’s saved for him in the templed hills of the dark bronze body that is not her body closed and cast into a form around her where she cries and it bellows Great God our king and our fathers’ God to thee and thee and let freedom ring through its nose and its breath and the piped-to-silence steam of her voice hot enough inside to break the rocks.