Above checkered flickering of late
coffeehouse generations, light pricks
tap out a dim, midnight tattoo.
Is it the underbelly of a whale,
unfurling a turbid Mardi Gras? Slow
motion horns dilate for one liquid eye.
Answered by silence. Orisons
babble, fitful reeds rehearse,
recount your rendezvous
with a perfidious bark, while calipers
compress the extant manuscripts
(flagrant gulf no hands could span).
It was a weatherbeaten, Southern face
below the embroidered wash and spume
whispered the one word –
"follow." Upward, through vertiginous
mirror gardens – dangling fluted
routes of a sunken – forsaken Babylon.
Spinning, restless, coaxial, cued
to firewater, pried from pueblo
gaol, a primeval kachina leaping
into the blaze – out of time.
Hidden underfoot, to be quarried
from the subway, the broken stone
wheel of a ruptured earth mother
revolves with disjointed orbit.
Weft of vertigo, carbonized. Exploded.
Pronounced from wincing salt, faltering,
slagged... flower names. Fertile
reproof. Slanting, bedecked at last.
Volcano, livid, fluent, enlists
the police. Magnified chevrons.
Pulques Finos. Skulls look up,
fed your tangled battering ram.
Ironclad northern city in your nightmare,
and the sound of the sea, too familiar,
eager to lock you in a wavy ooze,
forlorn foghorn... such was Death's only ruse.
Who waits by the pier to feel your taunts
will always wait now. You waited once
for shoulders tensely spare, the tide's advance;
reposeful strength was gateway - into trance.
The bridge you strung beneath your bones
still rises, harbored, iridescent, out
of your twenties and the century's, still
delicately rides the storm. And Ariel
holds his song... and now Atlantis groans! –
surfacing with your ascending steep descant.
(You can hear, faintly, in the 3rd section, the sound of an ambulance going down Hope St.)