THE GULF: Klaus Fuchs, physicist and Soviet spy

October 2, 2014

                                 Hitler disliked my politics. He blamed

                                 the Reichstag burning on my comrades.

                                    Only Kristel and I escaped the flames

                    of der Fuhrer’s fury. And both of us went mad.

Capital killed democracy. It built

too powerful an engine. Now an engineer

applies the brakes or puts on steam according

to needs of the machine and not its passengers.


words are ships


by dead souls

                             their holed hulls

sieves for living


their only freight

                                     the breath

that shifts

                               slack shrouds

                                         I controlled my schizophrenia, but

                                     Kristel, diagnosed, officially, bipolar,

                                       swallowed rubber crumbs from bits

                                    orderlies wedged between her molars.


Science is of two minds: man and nature

shut in separate hemispheres. One side

lies dormant while its twin sets loose brute forces,

cut off from knowledge of the human cost.

                     I controlled my schizophrenia, but

                           In my dreams, Elisabeth still climbs the arc

                     of the Friedenstrasse bridge, crosses the tracks,

                 almost, then stops. Cornered by Gestapo sharks,

                      she jumps. A train rolls by. My vision blacks.


Colonies and taxes, wars and debts,

wherever nations copulate with capital

all their bloated offspring celebrate

Herod’s slaughter of the innocents.

                     to sound such depths

                                                         unmans me

                       My brother asked for agitprop not cigarettes.

                                         Its jail-yard Tauschwert nearly nil,

                Gerhardt shared it, gratis, with the other “guests.”

                 They couldn’t help but live his communist ideals.

Men are not pawns. History owns

no riches, fights no wars. It never in-

vents anything. So how can history

know when to keep or give away a secret?

                     I bridge

                                                    two headlands


                                                                 by fog


                                                    to one another

                     though each

                                                      rocky footing

                     holds up

                                                           half of me

                     and underneath

                                                         the water’s

                     whispered secrets

                                                     set the echoes

                     swinging like

                                                        a pendulum

                     from shore

                                                              to shore

                               Father found life too easy as a Lutheran.

                           “Being popular never fostered moral fiber.”

                         He scattered aphorisms. “Even a Quaker can

                            value Roman grit.” Except along the Tiber.

Though the laws of nature are immutable,

history glimpses their naked forms in different

poses. The wise man knows philosophy

is masturbation, physics rich as sexual love.

                     our pasts

                                                    are patchwork



                     out of need

                                                             and guilt

             When Hans Staub bullied Kristel, mother bullied me

          until I fought him. As she knew he would, Hans won.

                    Her way was never easy—only once, when she

                    gave up and jumped, declared her job was done.

Dead generations weigh like nightmare

on the living brain. The only God, Marx

said, is doubt. It never leaves you, never

cons you into loving it.

                     what can I do

                                                        but whisper

                     what I know

                                                        into the gulf