After Emily Dickinson


After Emily Dickinson
 
The hall ends with each wall meeting to
form a center point on the horizon.  This
point becomes the head of an arrow twanging
in the good green wood of my skull.  My
skull opens around the cool blue blade like
a pair of newborn lips.
 
Slow motion is a color one imagines falling in.
 
Running.  Forehead pulse swells to twin
rivers.  My palms are graveyards speckled
with fingernails. Sound of an arrow.  Unfocused
eyes and speeding heartbeat circle a quiet
moment alone with small animals.  Cold stone
beneath my feet.  Old portraits in the hallway
coo tired advice.  Sound of an arrow.  A door.
I open it and stare at a face staring at mine
with my own newborn eyes through my own death mask.

Dream In Which


Dream In Which
 
Corso's bones are fine‑tuned flutes
whose music's shaking birds from Fascist branches.
 
Below a cat paws through the snow,
a bloody parakeet squawks in his teeth.
Blue eyed women stand and weep,
mascara clots chunk to the snow.
 
Come spring the rivers run black
with molten snow along the dire of Elm Street.

To Vercingetorix In Heaven


To Vercingetorix In Heaven
 
Back before French was a wine arrogance
you screeched a bloody note which stung
the bronze bound fist sweeping Europe.
 
Surely your flaming whicker beasts scream still
from the talons of an eagle
flying deep in the hills of our memories.
 
Blood father,
we've killed the American Indian
and loftless History's iron fist
keeps clutching the songs that weak birds sing.

The scientist


The scientist
has taken the Moon
out of the poet's mouth.
 
He's Danted up a death
more dream than any cavern hole
bat hung with writhing souls.
 
Goes Death, goes the throne
and the New Moon spins
like a pockmarked ulcer
on a slab of stainless steel.
 
But still
a bead of water sparkles
full star in the day
time and again
with each crashing wave.

Bowling Alley


Bowling Alley
 
Women glide
down wooden slats,
hurling stones
at men in white tuxedoes.
 
A stainless steel urethra
fills my cup with clot-less oil.

Inaugural Balls


Inaugural Balls
 
Was a decent evening till the man from Gulf
and Western coughed a hundred clots clear across
the room. His flying dentures shattered kami‑
kazi style on a color photo of the Grand Cooley
Dam. Damn near decapitated the bus boy.
 
Teeth were everywhere! Teeth in the Men's
Room, teeth in the ashtrays, teethfire rattling
the walls. Out of each tooth a dead president
grew. Skin all blue and freckly. Stinking
like wet newspaper under the porch. They droned
slogans all over my face. A most dreadful way
to spend an evening.
 
                        So many rotting heads!
Jackson the Indian killer sang praises to the
common man. Truman's tongue was terrible. Teddy
Roosevelt's teeth were a wall full of urinals
with dead buffalos caught on the little sani‑pucks.
F.D.R. kept coming up with new and better deals.
Out of the whole bunch only Coolidge gave me a
minute's peace. All in all presidents seemed
like a downright detestable bunch of assholes
and I nearly washed my hands of the whole lot of
them till Lincoln, gentle Lincoln brought out
the better angels of my nature.

Facial cream dries


Facial cream dries
and cracks into patches.
 
Black wires
circle big yellow teeth;
the lips.
 
Skull sockets
centered by black raisins;
 
eyes in death,
lightless
and without water.

For Whitman On Election Day 1980


For Whitman On Election Day 1980
 
Ah Walt, on Election Day the rainfall
stripped the trees of all the yellow
leaves and the campaign posters on the walls
made assassins seem like heroes.
Despite your dreams of evolution
the nation goes another way, and our banks
around the world, fund an anti‑revolution.
Perhaps you've failed to understand
for all your hopes and all your visions
that history's a slimy mission.
Here inside this stormy season
frustrations breed a human smog
and riled up the desperate nation
snaps Reagan! Reagan! like rabid dogs.