CODA: A Poem

The fit seizes me—I drift—
tearing sound of shot silk—
plosions below.

Gray sun changes to pale yellow wash.
Milt bops. Duke downshifts.
Bessie kneels from midnight to sun
       in golden chains.

Thin hipped, thin lipped,
you come trailing your bluest India,
weeping to any night switchman,

tickling his crotch—
Sex, you sing, is just another
O silk articulate one, come—

Sun shine weak on my country cow corn.
Listening to white saxophone players
        with keenest interest,
the "I" browse through Picasso's women weeping.

The theory subsides, like a coiled
        green snake,
tube smear, Hooker's Green.

I see you with the children
in the high yellow window
in the Prussian blue night.

And now beneath the El
here's your man Carlos, foot bound,
due for restorative surgery.

I shake his unbanished hand
and check for stigmata—It's
your life, I whisper, Be careful.

The gathered ones stare darkly,
a family of Rasputins,
racoonlike, with holy, glowing eyes.

Huddled to one side of the platform,
they nudge me to the ultimate dark.
Someone says, Trust the shadow.

And someone adds, without a word,
       Yes, now go.
A blank utterly devoid of thought-glands,
I walk away from you and the family

standing around there in graystriped wool
on the platform of the elder EDl
crisscrossed and striped by shadow.

Me devoid of any sense of closure,
any pinkslip sense of ended service,
any scizzor sense of being cut off
       at the root—yes,

I awaken by the puke-blossomed wall,
I see him lying alongside the tracks,
a man asleep or dead, angled feet crossed,

winged arms akimbo,
hands cupped beneath his
beardless close-cropped skull.

As the moon is not of the sun's reflected light,
as the moon is not the moon, the sun
       the sun,
he is no angel—nor yet, mythic Christ

I walk up on little catsfeet and say to him,
I am in this dream, and are you Jesus?
He opens his eyes and smiles.


Rose, when they cover your table with teatowels,
and leave the glass goblet exposed, the
       salt cellar
bare to the light, the silver quaking—

And if they pity you your rugs, O Vajra Sow, Kali—
Be sure your every floor is bare and sparkling.
Oak, tile, teak, samele, lemon-oiled parquet,
       plain pine.

As you lie there, heaving, the unbarren voice
will come blossoming forth to call your name,
the olive trees will start to blur their
       silver edges—

mistaking doves for angels, shadows for light,
       O dilemma unsoluble, dissolving—
supplant your rose and ocher desert with
       green and gold fish,

burn your albums, save the silver negatives.
O much loved progenitor—Sweep. Contemplate.
       Sleep deep.

For you are the mundane & holy, the Hindu saint,
       the wife & actress.
Medallion & filigree, the law & the crime,
       the word & its breach.

For you are the fish & the mother of fishermen,
       the adulterous wish,
twisted lovers, turning in a gyre,
       a pyre of flames.

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