There is no Rescue Mission where it isn’ t freezing
from the need that created it. The lost children
distill to pure chemical. Where Good is called No-Tone
it’ s the one who cries out who doesn’ t get a coat.
The children fuse colors because they don’ t want to
separate. Daughters shot off of hydrants who cut
each other in the neck and gut, don’ t care
which one of them will end up later in surgery.
Must the Morgue be my Only Shelter??
Into my backyard’ s six fat squares of concrete rigged with clothesline,
Charlie the Cop swung gunnysacks convulsed with Jersey chickens.
From the open view of other yards, unfolded down the block,
neighbor women watched ours boil tub water; the barechested men,
laying out knives and cleavers, fumbled the animals into daylight,
The whole world was there, plucking their linen,
half-bald, mumbling, sucking on their moustache tips.
Broadway was still in business and they asked no favors.
All the cracked ribs of Fredericksburg,
the boys who held their tongues at Chancellorsville
as the bandages, mule shit, skin and shot
overran the Rappahannock’ s banks
and poured it in our mouths
Turn wheels of ﬁre
on manhole hotheads
Secrete dark matter’ s sheen
on our smarting skin
Rise and shine
In puddle shallows
under every Meryl Cheryl Caleb Syd
somnambulists and sleepyheads
The way we lay
we mimed a body
of water. It was
this or that way
the dead and we
were them. No
Millet beer made
our legs go weak,
our tongues. “The dead,”
said, “are drowning
of thirst,” gruff
summons we muttered
out loud in our
Carnival morning they
were Greeks in Brazil,
Africans in Greek
disguise. Said of herself
was born in a house in
heaven. He said he was
born in the house next
door... They were in hell.
In Brazil they were
To abide by hearing was
what love was... To
love was to hear without
Is the governor falling
From a great height?
Arm in arm we fled the brassiere factory,
The motion-boat stayed on the shore!
I saw how round its bottom was
As you walked into southern France —
Upon the light hair of an arm
Cigar bands lay!
I kissed you then. Oh is my bar
The insect of your will? The water rose,
But will the buffalo on
The nickel yet be still?
For how can windows hold out the light
In your eyes!
Darling, we fled the brassiere factory
In forty-eight states,
Arm in arm,
To think I used to be so good at going to pieces
gobbling my way through the cops
and spooking what’ s left of the girls. How’ d I
get so far, sloughing off one knuckle at a time,
jerking my mossy pelt along
ruined streets? Those insistent, dreadful thuds
when we stacked our futile selves
against locked doors. Our mumbles and groans!
Such hungry nights! Staggering through the grit
of looted malls, plastered with tattered
flags of useless currency, I’ d slobbered all over