Madison Morrison's Web / Sentence of the Gods / Light


Madison Morrison



If the globe eye is
irised, all colors of the
rainbow pulled on
the pupil’s pole,
you might think

night smokes or the spout
drains or the barrel ends
in the room. Such

In fact:


I’m a
different person
who resides
in Francfort,
a worker
approaching the stand
attracted by the June 5
edition of The New York Times.
I’m homesick without your hand.
The day of the week is missing.


An unemployment office, an
employment bureau, both
one in the same.

My new companion joins me,
hands out of work.
If you’d come back
on a motorbike, I’d
be jovial, waving two fingers
across the street,
three-quarter face.

☼  ⚪


In a palm tree, drowsy
and pretty, a date sits.

The pageant takes place. I
leave a couple stranded
to climb a sandy hill,
recall her telling us to
make ourselves a meal.

The table is academic,
the setting
affection itself.


People have been gathering
by fours. Explosion in the
wall doesn’t affect the belfry.
It is the kiss of ours
that draws it out:
your sentimental
cathedral agony,
my hand
upon your flank.


Though you and I
are one, you fly off to
make a note of it. I tumble
for a living and practice
sleight of hand. With
forty-five minutes
in between the acts, the
audience grows restive.
The ladies smoke in
the temple lobby.

☼  ⚪


I want my dressing
room; I find the stage.
The stairs are dark, low
lights in the risers. I
meet the party member in
my silks, who offers help.
I had forgot my magic tricks.
His double deck inspires me.
I suffer stage fright,
but I’m happy.


An ordinary white sedan
can function as a limousine
even with victims handcuffed
in the back. We scurry
under the gravelly cyclone fence.

No one guards the double gate.

It’s blocked.
Wire cutters work, though,
opening The White House.
We avoid a rest.


Antagonist and
agonist lounge in a
dental office. The doctor
advises against the
parcel: “Nothing to it, past
the camp.” I picture brambles.

The phone rings over
a magazine. He won’t take
the credit, as I see it.

☼  ⚪


I lap the poem
off the page, barking
from a basement,
and she comes into
the kitchen from outside.
Like a cook I add
a handful. You must be
the fattest girl in the
whole world. You
inflate like a balloon.


The Italian counts
on women off the street
I identify with that. My
blond has the skin
tone and visible bone
structure of a pork.
The chamber is huge. High
windows, velvet drapes,
and dark make


The queen
has new-born cats.
her kittens must be twenty.

The first thirteen are fine.
However, seven’ve been hatched
from Satan eggs (miaou).
their bracty little paws
like parts of a poem. The
king was a bad cat. He
had five toes too.

☼  ⚪


When a teenager,
dribbling up the hill, misses
the crotch of a tree, the
boys in the bus think “surreal.”

When he swore, they saw
the tree move. A clean youngster
says the kid’s possessed.

The magician’s helper
alludes to the Greeks to
win his argument.


He says
remember the
last scene of a play. The
caretaker fields it. You’ve
got it all wrong. Some
other play? Pause
for disapproval.

Ask the kid by
the name of Monk. He’d
know that sort of thing.


You went
with me and lost your coin. We
looked until we found it.

Under the microscope it’s
in a drop, very small
and golden. When
that gray woman has
her canisters in five skinny
letters, the white man
can’t be far behind.

☼  ⚪


Her vestibule
is in a natural house.

I wonder why
we haven’t used the
TV downstairs. No one else
knows about it. Visitors in
the spring thought we
had no central air,
sitting in the sitting
room with window units.


A man from the South
wants a ride back East.

I’ve told him the family
car goes only to childhood.

Though his heart’s not in it,
his mind’s made up.

Driver’s seat reclined,
he rests his head in the
back seat, a red
folded blanket underneath.


The windy urban street scene
creates early confusion.

Rain drizzles into the
room. The hotel becomes
apartments. A cheap curtain
wet with rain blows
in the windows. Rooms
replace the people, rhymes
the rooms, you and I
displaced by fear.

☼  ⚪


With the bill of a cap
between my fingers

I prepare and supply our
planes, their missions taking
them to Europe and Russia. Though
its dark dining room seats twelve,
the hangar houses only a
single-seater. A deeply oiled
table top gleams under


The performance of the
little girl, as you and I see
it, is directed by a patriotic priest.

He trims the highest leaves
of several trees. A little Freudian,
she sings her anthem to the flag. When
the director calls for feeling,
she speaks only with reason:

“I love my mother
and my little brother too.”


I live in one room.
I live in two.
New asphalt tile covers the stairs.

The old tile with simple repairs.

I live on the second floor in a single room
I live on the third floor. The alcove

door leads to a second room.

I have just arrived. I know
by the etching on the wall
I’ve been sitting all night in the hall.

☼  ⚪


Climbing to the second
floor, I enter the right hand
room, my room.
This is someone else’s room.

I’m on the third floor,
looking at the door. The
radiator blocks the alcove.
A bed fills up my room.

You call me in the hall.

I’m happy with a magazine.


The little man, who
would like a ride, drives
himself. Is this his life?
A straight street is venomous,
even approaching from the
East. Going south its canvas
billows gently overhead.

Someone runs up the stairs.

The street is carpeted.

The car moves very quietly.


I can support myself —
in a bedroom closet — with my
feet against the wall, but
they’re suspicious.

A stopper from the sink
reaches out as evidence.

My five-year-old boy has
given me away. Fly, O
enemies. Pursue them
without any guilt.

☼  ⚪


Now this
is bombardment:
potted plant, tasteless
vases, stairway dowels.

Or is it? In the wide
spiral opening gravity pulls
their missiles back.
But I’m powerless too,
without the will
to kill.


The caretaker takes
my hand. The declivity is
partly terraced, partly
straight. As we descend
together, I begin to understand.
I cannot see. We have entered
a valley green with grass, before
we begin ascending. On the
rise red flashing lights
come into view.


He is the one who sees it.

Someone has been hurt.

Two firemen have been
badly burned. One is vivid red.

Both fight the fire.
Detached in the emerald grass the
face-mask-like, death-mask-like
face is sooty. High winds raging
through the building
increase the damage.

☼  ⚪


These old houses
have wings at the rear end.

We sleep in the basement.

Morning takes you into
the main house. A second
cousin taunts me in the open
hall. Her fleshless mother is
her host. She needs rebuttal
badly. I wrestle on her chest
to join you.


10:30 now —
on stage by one o’clock.

The art world offers
curatorial assistance. The
fish will soon be critical,
the question tropical.

In making preparations
I’ve tried the costumes
of every period but
Filipino art.


Filipino art and life
are tangent in the search
for intersecting planes. Or it is
globes? Have I revealed
too much in English?

The university went to
lunch at a hot dog stand.

Along a nighttime street
the divorce’s orientation
is obscure.

☼  ⚪


Non-existent globes are
made of glass, the size
of grapefruits, their intersections
indicated with dotted lines.

The early stage is trying.
I always thought I recognized
the preoccupations
that dissipate the body.

A date fallen from a
tree refreshes me.


In a central
chamber where you left it,
the bug is operated on.

Its heart has ceased,
the chief surgeon distraught.
Parts toss in a plastic
bag: grommets, intertwining
tubes. I don’t know what
to do. A bug’s heart
is never white.


The mechanic
with dirty hands
presents me a bill,
handwritten, smudged, and torn.

Seven-two and something.

Forty-two and thirty-five.

How can I afford
a hundred forty-nine? I ask
for explanations. The hood
opens on the heart.

☼  ⚪


The heart and soul
are in the body —
recently installed. A cruel
hoax? I hope not. A screw
perhaps. Why so many items
on this dirty bill?

Four’s a frequent integer.

These extraordinary
parts seem so lonely
on the floor.


I walk
the vestibule again and face
the lake. My home is on the left.

A passing car slides in the
slight snowfall to the corner.

Police pursue it, turning
right into the boulevard.
As four ladies leave
their car, I feel
concern and empathy.


Lovingly I stow the car
behind a cantilever door.

Space no longer opens on the left.

The black sedan of European
make fits easily by the
white. I join in Christmas
carols. Well-to-do we enter,
buxom in our boots.
We fill the hallway,
aglow with table light.

☼  ⚪


Drawn aside
into the semi-circular and
windowless solarium, I
observe you gray among
your plants. Their four-inch
oblate leaves are light.

Handling them for plastic,
I allay suspicions. As
the gray hand touches them,
they wilt and dry.


The eternal cathedral
is a plotless stage.

Its empty nave masses
the pupils in its transepts.

German school desks
abut one another
as students howl
answers. The eating
question teaches the
end of the story.


Yet the closing episode
requires interpretation.

An actor is a radio announcer,
mouthing words of vintage
disaster. He finishes
at twelve, but I
and my communicants run
to twenty past. In five
minutes more the dial
contains all the elements.

☼  ⚪


Gaunt but conscient,
the father has observed
the final act. In a
hallway encounter he
wrinkles his brow at
the interpretation.

Preoccupied, he enters the room
without knocking,
a thick white handkerchief
held before his face.


He has not been burned,
but grief disturbs him.

Soliciting a sympathetic
word, he speaks of family
crisis. A foreign niece
has suffered her misfortunes.

Precaution must be taken,
and she is flown for
hospital care out
of the desert outpost.


The blond dresser
drawer halfway out —
he reaches in without a word.

These decomposing pencils
serve his purpose, useful
in a splint. The overhead
plane is departing,
as a dim jump-suited figure
gives her landing
signals down the sand.

☼  ⚪


I don’t care at all
for this house, but I
anticipate a killing for
its owner. His prospect arrives.

I escort him to the patio.

The owner is out for liquor,
his empty chair facing the
pool from the patio. A
towel on the ground makes
the orange peeling suspect.


As I leave him, I close
the doors behind me, letting a
distasteful air into the
kitchen and den. In
the living room I hide, before
he enters. He’s suffered no
ill effects. Escaping to the
yard, I crouch in
scrubby sage. Soon
the owner will return.


A square poetess
cuts the ellipse like
cheesecake. I sit in the North
and rest. In his turn a man
of misfortune sights me
on the pine floor. Inside
the stairs are barred.
Having climbed it herself,
the diabolic official
offers me a lift.

☼  ⚪


No street hands.

The evening’s work has
begun despite the secretary’s
late arrival. I meet
him in the corridor,
intending to dine, but there’s
commotion in the lot.
If the military pool
has been informed, I’ll have
to leave the limousine.


I walk the sidewalk
to the situation, eluding
favorable girls. At the men’s
club the meeting is above
gyrations. Downstairs
European toilets lack any
shred of privacy. I read
about the poet’s past.

He grew up in the suburbs,

so the entry reads.


A gray woman has snow-white
hair, as she rolls over backwards
into the crib. The slats
contain an unborn child, who
enters into the discussion.
The child of generation
has been left in my lap.

I observe the party
assistant, rubbing the girl’s
nose with indiscretion.

☼  ⚪


The conductor does
a repeat performance,
stepping down the case of
the junior institution. Each
is disillusioned with
the other. He can do the stairs
alone, for all I care.
Clearing the cars by
ramming at least
alleviates remorse.


I find it hard to believe
that children can engage
in the act of cruelty.

They, after all, are
part of the whole.

I stop to dunk the newts.
A party clergyman
hesitantly questions the
killing. Inspection
leads to reticence.


The conductor arrives with
punch in hand, demanding
fair entertainment.

An electric child
could do it, but Welsh is
all they speak on the tram.

The fare’s a little flat.

Approached on the subject
I blush out a host
from under the stair.

☼  ⚪


The gym instructor
holds them over. Luckily
hot dogs keep back
hunger. After another
I feel a little sick myself.

One young girl’s already back
from the men’s room,
lunch plastered on the
wall. As I pass by, I put
my share in the fountain.


In the mountain meadow
skies are dark. It rains
and rains and rains on the town.

Flooding makes little
boats a necessity.

Rowing the boy to the
store and back, I pull my share.

Though an invalid, he has
the strength. Pools lie
low in the bleak windows.


An older man
will administer exams
every day of the week.

The first begins today at five.

Settled down after the
flood, I put the volume on my
knees. Though a livelihood
is in the offing, you go on
making advances, as the
hour darkens.

☼  ⚪


At ten of six I plead
for time. I must have
another 50 minutes.

Dowdy socialites
cluster about in the room
where it all began. Edging
past the secretary desk, I
notice the ironing board. Relief
comes only in Montreal. On the
floor it’s 7:00 o’clock.


A divorcé is a man

alone. He lies in a crib, a

hospital bed, railing

rising, an elevator

door. A standing

lamp lights the

mattress. The pole

is through the crib itself,

standing for

the missing person.


As I study at
her desk, the novitiate
in blue and white
sits on her cot’s
edge, regarding me,
her lips as full as pearls.

She won’t sleep with me,
till I mention her future
regret. Suasion leads
to the downy grass.

☼  ⚪


From the shadow and
screen of bedroom bushes
I witness the lawn crossed.
The intruder has arrived at
the door. Conscientious
for knocking, I
have heard none. He
leaves with only a ring.

Despite the strength of his
partner I subdue them.


The sinewy descendant
eats at the house, but
his feat excludes the dinner
guests. With his grandfather’s
tooth impaled in the

dining room he turns
aside to converse.
Inside his six feet four
his six foot
frame is rigid.


When September tells the
story, an architectural
problem solves itself, but
a cold vent makes
for complications. One room’s
carpeted, the other bare.

Near the center
I installed the
vents. My house has
no vent in the wall.

☼  ⚪


I leave this room,
happy in the first, the
two continuous in time.

I go in there to get
my pants and come back
with two belts, wide one on
the bottom, narrow one on
top. A younger woman,
mounting the stairs, joins
you in the first room.


Why did the tragic hero
break his left arm? His
left hand is lost in
conversation, his fingers
horribly deformed. Any

man with a handicap
deserves sympathy. When
I place my genuine hand
on his biceps, he regards

me with suspicion.


There are twice as
many people, a lot
of them smoking. She
brought a maid
to aid her convalescence.

In bed in the living room I
read The New York Times,
finding out her news.
Somewhere that golf ball’s
hiding in a brick house.

☼  ⚪


I’ve taken a balder
walk before. This one
dead ends at a posh
front door. Going South I’ve
recently been through it, then
turned West and returned.
It is the passage
through summer’s heat
to the cooler air
of October.


I turn directly West, and
the street ends. Cutting
across property, I walk the
curb, until it too disappears —
I step on the grass, descending —
giving way to the stair
in the shaded slope,
where the early cool
and passivity
of life reside.


Eventually I pass the
stair, overgrown
as it emerges.
I’m in the street,

my progress
in the public eye.

The grade is great. I’m
doing fine, until
dogs in the street
start barking.

☼  ⚪


If they’re not chained,
I’ll face them down.
Two or three are tired,
but the others aren’t. Their
chains let them barely reach me.

The side dogs will soon
be out. White Alsatian
hills move westward
in the finer mist of
Southern California.


Out saunter the doggies
with their floppy lope. They
take my smell for female,
uninnocent but unaggressive.

Faster. A mother tells her
children how to avoid me. Faster.

The dogs are bulls. A nag’s gall
turns terribly inflamed. Its
pustule hangs to the ground,
tethered with chain.


A gray woman of
white tresses assembles
a brood in her kitchen. With
my own hand I painted this room.

Enormous appliances stand
against its light green walls.

Officious and benign, they
sacrifice The New York Times,
stepping away from the protest —
brother and daughter, sister and son.

☼  ⚪


At dusk I pull in
under the heavy overhang. Tank
should take a gallon. Filled
up, I park on the plaza.

We have to rest for a while.

Much darker. It’s time we
started. We need a gallon, but
it takes seven.

I wanted one, or even
less than one.


Two attendants
back it out. I rage at
being overcharged. Obligingly
four men look in the car
and find something obvious.

Lift it up, I suggest, and give a
hand. Three of us drop it
on a fourth. He wears the
axel on his back unhurt. There’s
no mechanical lift here.


In the café the salesman
pitches. The father
places high conditions
on insurance. He regards it as
a family matter. He and the
mother insist that it
agree with their belief.
This is solipsism. The
salesman finds it
hard to believe.

☼  ⚪


The father
pursues each candid
confession, attacks free
tanks of gasoline, the
car itself. Darkness falls. As
they dispute one another,
four thugs leave the church
to steal a ’54 Chevy. Two others
jump the bumper. Explosion
fills the street.


To get out of here
we have to use disguises
from the rich lady’s
basement dressing room. I
try on a lacey shirt
over button down. Men’s pants
still give me away. Why
triangles over pie? What does
golden mean? My legs are
smooth and slender!


Down the rump and out
the ballpark. Fairground
usher whistles me by
name. My escort doesn’t
believe it either. I’m a girl,
if he’s a fool. Agents
close in on murder.

Accomplice deserts me. I
don’t think you’ll
get out of this one.

☼  ⚪


Lady artist does her
work in cars, houses,
hotels. She even brings
her children, returning
them the same day. Arrival
at the airport: motel room
is a duplex. When the suitor
passes on the praise,
he gives out two,
but not to you.


This is the dark
at the end of the room.
In a prison block the
concrete (short for convict?)
has a complaint. Duck shot
out of the air (block=turret?).

The thing is half
underground, on the border of a
marsh or lake (dusk or dawn?).

They start to take action.



and divorcer
sit on a hotel bed.

I meet a mustachioed man.

I push him in the air,
off the railroad platform.

Where am I pursued to? A
room within a room?

Maybe you
can flash it out.

☼  ⚪


Our tourist group
is interrupted by these
young people cutting up.
A black man holds up
his forty-five, as he robs
the European lobby,
my wallet thrown on
the pile. But
there’s more to Russia
than a stickup.


In passageways
they take the
occupants captive,
fishing out one
from under a bed.

In the mood of the auditorium
everyone’s relaxed except
for the child, who sits across
the street in the window-front.

You left him there till twelve.


Meanwhile, the purser’s
wife steps down the
aisle with her back-pack.

I look into the rocky
Texan landscape. Words
are painted on the shack. A
poème trouvé, I say
to the mistress of
hams. The masses march
in the boulevard.

☼  ⚪


The desperate
situation rolls up into a
ball in France. I wear
the rags of riches. As a man
of fear and violence I
will only shoot to kill.
The armed assailant
takes many bullets,
before his death
is ascertained.


The court repairs to
the vestibule to party,
the double-king
propped on the company
couch. Vanity is
visible, as members vie
for space. In a black bed
they bundle to sleep.
Dislodged, I
pass and decline.


The “girls” gather
in the son’s room. A
woman breaks out to
insist on the gadget,
showing interest in the
pantry linen closet.

The high shelf
can is deposited
and caught, then
delivered at the door.

☼  ⚪


In the purple- and
silver-papered hall
his agony chastises a
girl with honey hair,
running his hands
inside her
nightie. Stripped
of her brassiere, she
still escapes, her
panties intact.


I sing
a candid miracle.
She seeks shelter in my
arm. I touch this
sister’s innocent
locks and occupy
eighteen inches
where a gray man
could sometimes lie.

Thus we share the realm.


The two-room
apartment has a
door between rooms, each
room opening onto the
hall. A and B,
Americans living
in France, occupy the rooms.

But then revolutionaries also
have access, keeping the
radio in a valise (V).

☼  ⚪


A political is
helpless at the radio, up
until the day of the coup.

Authorities arrive
but disappear. Though B
is single, A has a girl. He
opens V and the typewritten
list of leaders (all caps).

It nearly corresponds to
the newspaper list.


The party host
receives acquaintances on
the ground floor hotel bed.

A walk is a breather,
passing blacks. Anxiety
passes the alley (cross the
A). New group passes,
the old molests,
hand (right hand)
become a hook.


Three tall unicycle rides.
The guest parking lot at
“Fisherman’s Wharf”
has a decorative
excavation. The
reflection reserves
gray to beige, and the
restaurant’s down from Delphi.

This amateur borrowed
a cycle from a socialite.

☼  ⚪


He finds himself
in downtown New York.
Having obliged the
woman with directions,
high on the saddle
of the muse, he
now discusses the
bike-sitting element.
On the verge of falling
he adjusts himself.


Man comes to roof,
when I’m not here,
fails to do superfluous
sections. Sections
on wall keep my house
from high building.
These we scrape off together.
Roofer submarines to Crete,
where the virgin had her
bare-breasted visions.


I will set out from
this hotel parking lot,
ride my bike to the
bike repair shop. The
odyssey must begin by
entering the lot. Maneuvering
my ten-seater, I
allow them room to
follow. Then we cross into the
wide rain-covered street.

☼  ⚪


Through the intersection,
past the pizzeria, up
an incline and off the bike.
They no longer follow.

I hand my table to
the men in charge.
Two legs are gone, the
others miss their things
in German. He told me what
they are, but I forget.


elapses into the basement,
where rotting in the frame
is pointed out. A slight
condition has worsened,
vermicelli marks, a
wormy head. The snake
on the floor
ballooning, menacing
the child.



considered, but the worker
returns with a snake to kill
a snake. The snake snake
threatens the mammal snake.
Both black, they
turn their silky-brown,
their yellow-green. The snake
snake prepares to strike;
her black mouth opens.

☼  ⚪


There’s to be
no killing seen.
The elements are all
sitting in the frontal
lobe, wherein we digest the
food of thought. The half
asleep swallow wings. Fly
with me back into
myself, incapable
of killing.


You and I
are entertained
in the parents’ house.

I have no visible windows
in the dinner scene.

The living room, high and
spacious, holds the couples
easily. The hero and the
heroine may appear, but one
doesn’t seem to.


On a rich sofa,
having labored, the
hostess holds a tray.
The tree is falling
slowly, and it must
be caught. The hero
in his heroism
offers me a hand. We
place it in the stanchion,
the unornamented tree.

☼  ⚪


I find myself now
in the emporium
for travelers. The tub,
though attractive, is
for storage or display.
The showers are for
bathing. I shave without
trouble to the jawbone,
my tough double beard
growing tougher.


Decorations are
approved by victories:
off-white walls,
rich mocha
valences. In the
central room a table
sits on the large gray rug
with two Orientals, one

squarely on, the other
half off it.


The lunching
art world
manipulates the
rock, whose servant
has shoes of brown
pebbly hide. They are for
dancing and for
later. A future view
of this would detail
a dubious escape.

☼  ⚪


You and I make
our return to the
birdbath bungalow, where
cars take up the front yard
in semi-circular drives.
In the rear a body shop
appears in the retirement, but
everything’s really going strong.

“You ought to rent this
out,” the tire dealer says.


A non-
roofing roofer brings
roofing to insulate.

His hammer nails it through.
The pattern that he carries
out is black on brown
(satisfactory). The
water-proofing done
below the sills
imitates the neighbor’s work.


A thump on
the porch and a car
is on the lawn. You
check for mail
and find nothing
but a noosed bear hanging from
an autumn picture frame.
The envelope is through the
door, as Frenchmen watch me,
hiding on the porch.

☼  ⚪


Large city life
begins to degenerate, as
fighting goes on and on.

A rested soldier murders
a gauntlet runner,
who leads the flight over
the suburbs. I can reach the
tree tops and the bulbs
with my taffy
guidance system.


The religious retreat
occupies the hillside
between the duffer and
the country club. A
sister and her husband
speak of serious affairs.
She gestures with a copy of
the popular book.
I register a
silly disapproval.


A car in the garage
is stranded, its wheels
removed in respect for
the victims of war.
The earthen soul
reproaches the West, as

a traveler seems to
head East. A box
in the trunk must be
the root of the trouble.

☼  ⚪


Here’s a beastly
fable. The cat climbs
the crossbar on the back
yard fence. A dog goes
chasing her and gets
her. As she runs away,
her mother comes on. A
young dog trots on too.
The young dog gets the
young cat.


The brute man
brings along two of
his friends, six-six,
In the September
house I step behind the
top bunk bed, pulling
out the sheet for
refuge. Adult is
apparent to the child.


A story of success and
failure: the detective
speaks for himself.
Consumptive steals
from banquet table
inedible pearl necklace.
In the opposite
case (failure and
success) the golden
blue is one.

☼  ⚪


The corner of the block’s in
the corner of the room. The
young girl sits in the sofa.
Bad looks can’t
distract her, but kisses
will overwhelm. Three
licks are enough, stop
for two counts. She
can lick herself,
she says.


above the waist
leads to other things.

She’s small and dry but
softens. Wet wins the
battle, prohibition the war,
virginity the principal
excuse. Damp socks are hard
to get on. She’ll have to live
in those variety shows.


In a hotel room
we are paid a visit
by a single
woman of forty-five.
Her advances suggest
a boarding house, and
her male acquaintance
ain’t forgot. Through the
heating duct this siren
pays her final call.

☼  ⚪


Someone’s in touch
with a down-under man.
I replace him on his
cool summer job
to paint the center stripe
on a highway. From
the danger of cars I move
to the shoulder. The sun
shines warmly on a
wide black road.


In alternate stripes of
red and white I
paint the shoulder line.
Whoever has been doing it
is not so neat, but his
white stripes are whiter
than mine. Cars passing
by at a distance are
hard to avoid. One of them
hauls a rounded camper.


The previous painter
left rust-red paint
for the line in the asphalt
cleft. The can is open and
full. I stray from the road,
I reach through underbrush,
viewing the lake beach. In
a thicket below
the white plastic cast
of a lifeguard lies.

☼  ⚪


Three times life size,
he lies face up. Black mesh
netting is a camouflage
holding him down. A talk
with the guards confirms what
I thought. When the
weather is good, they put
him in the chair, and the
people on the lake
see they can swim.


Seated on the grass, the
body of precedent
talks to student in a
cant derogatory
way. He simply objects to
the outdoor lounging
at night. When the student
in the semi-open courtyard
speaks, his thought takes
refuge in a storm.


We open the lid
and find nothing but dry
leaves. Cousin of student took
the cache under night.
Precedent departed,
the powder appears,
discussed openly
by students. Behind
the elements I too
elude the agents.

☼  ⚪


Walk North on the
rock, am passed by
police, prudence
conquering innocence.

By an easterly route I
double back through
a store whose back door
is glass. It opens on
a girl’s dormitory quad,
constructed entirely of brick.


Tremendous rains
fall on the walk passing
South to the central
amphitheater. The sky clears
with military force parading
the ground. They conjure an
audience out of proportion.
Sidewalk cops detain
the suspect, and Chinese
push a machine.


Without asylum they
emerge to be beaten
by truncheons of fortune
wearing blue uniforms.
A gold fighter-bomber
on the face of woman
bleeds with a sore
in the cheek. The
disobedient walk the
sidewalk in fear.

☼  ⚪


I am approached
by Puerto Rican boys,
their milk moustaches
powdery white.
They have sniffed it
from me against
my advice. A boy of
ten recommends it
highly. Everything floats
in the nose.



An adolescent room
opens into violence.
The medical man, though
safe and desirable,
prevents the expulsion
of fear. After
congregations of a
dozen have left,
the only child is fed
in resignation.


The lady of desserts
takes her seat at the high
table, conversing affably
enough between epidemics.
The process of
inoculation, however, makes
for compromise. The
space contracts. She
narrows. Her blinding gesture
is visible.

☼  ⚪


A team is a
machine that drives its
members to strife. White
and black eat at
the table of fame. Though
the leader is a personal
friend, it is merely a
starter who shakes my hand.

Only on the hilly lawn
are disputes to be settled.


The married man
out of sympathy
enters a marriage of
convenience. The royal
retinue will not
stand for an irregular
house. And yet,
deformities can overwhelm
you. The child’s eye
blinks over two pupils.


If connections are
made, she will shuttle
from Dallas-Love.
The answer to Love
should be Fort Worth. (Dallas
can take care of herself.)

The question is put to
Southeast Oklahoma, whose blue
musician gives a driving

time of ten.

☼  ⚪


The visitors
walk due North from
politeness. I take
a southerly route. In the
valley of the West she has
drawn the shade
up to her lovely middle.
Papers, strewn about the
table, are served by
retreating to a bar.


These are alternating
lobes, and the flesh is
weak. We sleep
in the unused upstairs
room. I’m afraid the plant
has had it: dirt scooped out,
no longer moist. The
brown nubs have done it.
Still the hand waves in
its complete metaphor.


The gray woman
figures an earlier life,
driving the prince
through problems
of innocence. The bicyclist
circles a tree, where girls
on the sidewalk sit
in an island. As a
motorcyclist he
encounters historic streets.

☼  ⚪


In a step upward he
borrows a bus
and returns the keys
to the East Side steps.
As he crosses the street, he
identifies the car,
its gray low grill
an extension of the jaw.
He returns only
once to the doorstep.


The professional man
lacks the necessary awe
to cross the cemetery
plaza. It covers a
quarter of a million
dead. Before a wall the
dark native does
obeisance. Though I live in
his neighborhood, my
building is tall.


I don’t expect
deference from the
elevator man, but the
middle-aged woman does.
As he presses the floor,
she plants her kiss
and offers five-dollar
checks. When I refuse,
she offers ten. Hungarian
is hard to read.

☼  ⚪


The door is closed.
When it opens, the woman
sits, highly dressed,
waiting on her escort.

It takes me another
floor to find you
in your nursery
alcove. That you have,
but not the ankles
of a square window.


An executive
wears a professional smock,
and feels his way between
levels of the institution.

His moustache is touched
with white. From the public
vantage the plaza
vegetation is seen
through glass. I sip at
a cordial glass.



You are the sort of
little girl who answers
without an answer.
You have an invitation
to the tea, but at
the tea you have
nothing to say, your
eyes twinkling with
a Christmas invitation.

“——,” you say.

☼  ⚪


This is the toughest
section of both
towns. Hot duds are
risky here, but we
figure the cost anyway.
Why is the child
up in the hall, you tell
him I’m asleep downstairs.
Keep things down only with
a lot of bath taking.


We sit on the curb and
talk, while cynical
men listen. Around
the corner there’s
a head in the
car. White stuff covers
the top and the upper
sides. I take a ride
with the foreman. Something’s wrong
with the top of your car there.


Scratched and peel
applied to loosed the
undercoat. I see. Add

water and wash it
off. I apologize for such
anxiety. Twenty-five
bucks, fifty for the two.
And the sitter later on
another fifty. We sit by the
pond and puzzle it out.

☼  ⚪


It is more compact.

The white man’s left
hand atrophies from birth.
A turn for the worse.
Squashing the gold-black
bug on the windowsill,
who suffers. At the same
time a soft paper is
folded in four. The
accompanist lives.


We sit about
the dining room table.
Musicians have played
and will play again.
The table must be clear,
before they play. With
a wet rag I insist. I
brush the crumbs aside
and remove the spots. Wit
spots the opposite end.


The key to
making the alarm clock
work is pulling out
the metal alarm set
as well as or
in addition to or
instead of the plastic
one, while a miner gazes
full face, his helmet seen
through blackish stain.

☼  ⚪


Grass is plastic with
the quality of infant hair.
I cut it on the eastern
side. Though no one
notices, the fence is gone.
A salesman oversees it.
Elsewhere a list
of contradictions:
Tennyson’s partner,
shoulder-length hair.


He’s about to arrive
at last. We’re working
on his request. In
his hand he has signed
for the racquet, but
between the signature
and object “has received”
goes bad. The soothing
proprietor says these purchases
can always be returned.


The book says “Record.”
An imperative? The middle
was a hilltop thruway
entrance. We hit the horse,
it struggled to its feet
and created a hazard. Then descent.
Could water seep into a concrete
court? I cower to think.
The boss gangster has
to be avoided.

☼  ⚪


As I stand, he
fires, the dotted line
ending in the forehead. A
salmon leaps the ladder to
safety. Overlooking the lake,
summertime kitchen windows
take the breeze, and on the
porch I join the
family with a glass
for my advice.


Extend the family and
she will make her impossible
suggestions. The pit
is a movie and the word
is out of date. None
the less I return to
the structure. Lights
glimmer from the pill box.

Again the undergraduate
inquires for direction


We’ll be off to Europe
soon with the party members
and universities. The
ticket counter deals in
preparations, and a gray
woman fills the card. Cash
here says the window.
Some of the girls have
reservations. Most
go ahead anyway.

☼  ⚪


At that price
the economy plan is not
exactly cheap. The card is
upside down — to cover wooden
floors. Maybe “Gulliver!”
would be a good idea. We
need more music in
our lives, not elegance.
Your world is not the
same as Europe.


The suitors do the
entertaining. Fortunately
you did the cooking. She
says the compote is a mess:

“Cherries and bananas!”

A cooked banana drying rack is
essential. I eat my juice
with a spoon. What a
menu! Mock turtle
soup for dessert!


Seated on the right
the suitor keeps me busy
with a conversation. Why wouldn’t
it have been a girl? He’s
spent so much time at
Courts (the clothing store),
he’s had no time for
reunions. I know.
I saw him jazzing
on the sidewalk,

☼  ⚪


My vote
has been observed,
and I object. Silent
interest is followed by
neglect. Misfortune high
jinxes with a comb
on someone else’s beard.

The girl, assured of
her success, bares her
breast in sympathy.


Three in the afternoon,
three in the morning.

The snake incubates
a system in the book.
Only a snake can
open it. The procession
has passed her by,
the whole German city
a prospect of melancholy
military might.


After violence the
house is carpeted in
white. My room is up
and off to the left. And
you’re not in your room. The
plumbing comes from up
the stairs. The wrong
number is ringing. You have
almost a movie started.
Is this the bed we share?

☼  ⚪


From the turntable’s
balcony I take my
constant watch. Despite an
effective three-way switch
the park crowd
enters from the subway.
In long white gowns
and black slippers
they merely step across the
circle on the floor.


Basketball players
on the outdoor court
not only have different color
uniforms but different color
balls. Our team’s are
red white and blue
(pale and muddy). After the
whistle two of them shoot
and steal. We look on
from a grass embankment.


I collapse my
bike at the end of the stop.
Otherwise the bus won’t
take me. The lawn
chairs won’t fit through
the hole. There’s no hope
with stuccoed cement. Well,
the two-decker ride
was hardly worth it: views
of hilly Russia.

☼  ⚪


We drive to the
dining room together.

These figures are to be
understood, for they represent
my trees. The hand of the
older man becomes a printed
form, my facetious
photographs ridiculous.

So we take up the
question of tuition.


A natural guess is
lower by a magic number.

The higher figure
must include food. The
bright yellow-green
leaves of the sycamore
stop me in the sunlight,
turning up the
older stairs of the
house for lunch.


An auburn girl has
returned in the lobby-like
entrance of the tower.
We pass up the first
floor hall and
pause briefly at
another, continuing together
where only single men
and women
are allowed to
consider a meal.

☼  ⚪


A round
table is set with courses.
We seat ourselves on
the right and on the left. This
obedience is both disappointing
and rewarding, though
envy is not my final
dessert. The fork
pokes at an
undiscovered source.


We have
nearly finished our
discussion up the stairs.
The saving seems very
high. Entertainment may well
be a necessity, but
interest is its own reward.
So much for extravagance.
One can only understand by
halving the figures.


In the public
bath I lie on a bench.
These rectangular
rooms are for instruction.
She was swimming in
the pool, but her auburn
hair is straight and long.
It falls over a
gentle barrier
intimating like a sister.

☼  ⚪


The art world
cools the heels. Tours
are the facades of clinics.
They bound the sides of
a square. The red hotel
is in dingy disrepair with
a principal step motif. As the
Penn Central passes through
a sleeve, the world
returns to its office.


The chair
swivels but stays
where it is in the
motel dining living room.
Two guests leave despite
encouragement to stay,
and the European friends
let me know my mistake.

I am also scolded
from another room.


A tremendous night-
time robbery’s taken place
along the railroad-
intersected road.

From the car up the tracks
the blood has been stolen, one
immense hypodermic full.
I wait by the roadside
to view the police

☼  ⚪


The car appears
like a yellow spot.
It will have to go past
a detached caboose.
The escape is through, even
though a woman jockeys
back and forth. Her
railway car is
an American car, and
I’m the one pursued.


The warehouse
site deserted, I
enter the tower at its base.
The rungs of the ladder start high
up. There will be no traces
if the bulb is out except
a broken chain and a burning
filament. I risk my finger
at the opening. The bulb
continues to put out light.


The men approach,
but we’re already on
the roof. The slant’s too
great for one of the four
kids. Waiting to take
the jump to the nearby
tower, one of them
falls. Although he rolls
to the gap, he lies
safely at the yellow pane.

☼  ⚪


Cops keep metropole
side streets clean, but
eggs bounce off the
basement hospital entrance.
Uproached, the beehive
cut away, her miniature
features seem
sympathetic. After arms are
thrown about the legs,
a Coke refreshes.


The heroine
is cross. She marries
in despite of you and
proves insupportable
in theory. What should
the lawyer say, when you
make it 90 per cent? He

tells the truth: he knows
no one who does it.

Central Park is dark.


The gray man works
at the bookcase, as
I lean on top. This position
will not do. The sheets
are darkened in the room
with woodwork from an
older time. In the dining
room the tow-headed youngster
leaves his chair to
pursue his study.

☼  ⚪


Why do white
women wear purple
robes, powder their faces
and use bright lipstick?
Because she dead, so it
said. Her husband’s
a living knave. He
wears red pants and
a yellow silk shirt. Say
he dies, she lives.


These public halls
in a pinch or clinch
turn into public hills. She
wants to fill in love
and neck. After an
act in the northeast
corner it takes
mounds of cleanser.
That law school still
intimidates me.


It takes
a special man
to read the story right,
a drummer who
drags his daily body up
and down a stadium. He’s
farther up the hill to
start, in debt, and difficult
to boot. But most of all he likes
the Pittsburgh slag.

☼  ⚪


The tragic hero
poses with his peers, the
photo oddly cropped for
the people. A militant son
is draped about his neck. To
hear the paper say it, he simply
called some friends on
Sunday afternoon. Turning
plump and forty-fivish,
his pants have stripes.



Here they come to
dine. Can a cold puss
pass through a light living
room? Well, in the interim I
pick it up. This isn’t home.
It’s the imitation of a
young sophisticate, enamored
over high family life.

As I juggle the beakers
all the shades flag up.


A southern
morning light shines
in the northern windows.
After the afternoon
toys are gathered,
I sit and glimpse the
potted plant. His arrival is
still tentative. It depends
upon a V-neck sweater and
open-neck shirt.

☼  ⚪


The hotel room
is high above the
pavement. Its four
heavy windows look out.

The child wants to jump. These
other people aren’t
concerned enough for me.
The caretaker listens to
my shouted order. Keep
him from the windows.


On the same fall
day the gym’s in use. The
basketball team includes me,
though I play only with a piano
and three other players.
The hard fourth quarter
is beginning, hence
all the inconclusiveness.
That other team has turned
to pass a football.



When burly men
quarrel, a modern dining
room can turn into a mead hall.
Slug it out with profession.
Go back a step. Hold yourself
aloof, and watch the water
thrown, a gun in
retaliation drawn.
One burly man says
quit with the gun.

☼  ⚪


Though his entrance
is a hope, profession
pulls the gun — the gun
of the man who said quit.
Man lies dead on ground
in front of the stair — or is he?

Do you see me
entering the fate of
these men? Safe because I did,
dead because I didn’t.


The conductor is
a figure for reference
and advice. Though he
lives on a tram, it takes a
bike to reach him. Sitting
on the second floor he
views a baker’s shop.
He lets the kids on free and
thinks the young are sad,
living in a German city.


Something that I
drank? How can New York
be Boston and Amsterdam?
Simple: violence,
a knife, and two of
those men. An outdoor
film is a semi-picnic.

Water in the park you can
lie in. Pet heavily,
she won’t object.

☼  ⚪


I am W.B. and
I live in a tower.
Pebbles pay me
a visit. They climb
up the staircase
into my office
peeking at a manuscript
hitherto unpubl.
Oh, that just comes from
living in a castle.


The excise tax has
her back to the sink,
but her timing is bad, so
I tell her. At twenty-one
past the others arrive. She
may find herself
wanted any minute.
The tip-off comes with a
bad check. What a super
ego the hero has to have!


You come home to
a modified vestibule,
toting tea in a shoebox.

You talk too much, the
smoke’s too much, the
lady too much with tirades.
Mention “ass” behind
the door. I’ll write
it in caps
on my ’72 dresser.

☼  ⚪


The avatar’s done
it, a dirty deed.
His investigators
question me, I can’t
divulge unknown where-
abouts, I’m not even
sure he’s done it. On the
elevated stage
in a meticulous hand the
professor has written his message.


My wallet has gone
missing in the cab. Now
without fare the books
are locked in the back.
Maybe by the pool in
the apartment house? The
zoo-foul assassin wings the
rocks. I turn in to police
two unregistered guns.
One is missing.


Shots fired at once
fall short of the apartment
ceiling. In my room
petty pilfering takes the
place of a party. The nude
wrestler noses through the
insurance notes. A long-
haired girl may sleep.
She prefers a small space
underneath a table.

☼  ⚪


In the middle
lane a red light
prevents a right turn. The
alternative is Chinatown,
where the streets narrow
and a gray woman smiles.
The children have been
taking dope in school.
The spiritual father
overhears me.


The white ticket
taker at the downtown
show knows the frontier
appears in Russian boots.
Without much tact the
fish points out that we both
wear brown corduroys.
The old room houses
dirty dishes. In a sweatshirt
and shorts I clear them.


Do queens have
special demographies?
Two subway women
insufficiently sub rosa
discuss an Irish
gent. He cues for the
British Isles. Meanwhile
the muse, hanging
from her strap, parks her
face too close to mine.

☼  ⚪


Eastern Oklahoma
isn’t the East. When you
turn north into Kansas,
a woman loses scale. But
you turn homeward
at B, and later the
yellow circle shines. In
the art metal factory,
with door bar counter, the
Easterner is you.


Being near dinner time —
baloney sandwiches —
I get to see him sewing
(badly). We even have a
word in the hall. So tall
and blond and gangly.
Money is short, travel
is long. If you think you’ve
heard bad puns, what about
having some beer?


Yes, I will meet him
before the meeting. Is
it possible to finesse
unconsciously? This is
first class business that
you worry about. What

high rafters you have!
M.I.T. overtones. Well,
it’s quarter to two. Meeting
was at 12:30.

☼  ⚪


The silkworm
hangs from a tree, rain
so heavy in the front yard,
the house cleared
in two. The shadeless
window shows where we
stayed before. A gray
boarder packs in a black
and white undershirt.
And so we dominate.


The arch is
a tenement, the
photograph dark. Single
words, tombstones,
details of white, a
cathedral frame, the
other as the echo of
an echo, its subject, the
natural scene. A branch
extends beyond the viewpoint.


In the outdoor
airport restaurant
I lunch with a hungry man.
The high-heeled concrete
whore drives by for a pick-up.
This tip is mine, though
the moderate man has
paid it in bills, with quarter
to his coffee saucer. We leave an
indoor restaurant.

☼  ⚪


The grill is robbed
in the concourse. Holding the
child’s mostly eaten
English muffin, you wonder
out loud. I’ve been at the
bank to call for a grinder.

The number is under
the horizon. With a foot
I hold the air-conditioned
elevator car.


It cools the booth,
but the numbers with
their fractions are out
of order. The airport listing is
missing. Someone cut the
directory pages in half, and a
traveler displaces me. Still
I keep a blue ballpoint
ready to underline
against my principles.


The younger man
with his little erection
does the elder’s work.
But even with the keys
to the cupboard, he
can’t sleep in the room.
A dark-skinned boy
accompanies me. The
composer observes
the closet unlock.

☼  ⚪


In the darkness of
his living room I ask
if I can stay. Although
the dark little boy
will sleep on the Oriental
rug, no place is available
for me. In the question
light he gives me
consideration by doing
Humpty Dumpty’s roll.


Along these sidewalks
we drift in conversation
and turn into a country
club drive. The doctor has
been injured, but the
internal wounds
have healed. Imperfections
in the walk lead me
to ask when will he
play again.


The apron off the
tennis court serves for
a game of horse. I find the
ball in the grass,
eliminate her in a
robin and give up the offer to
begin. When I insist, she
misses. Considering a
hook, I bang in a jumper
and miss the next two.

☼  ⚪


Cleveland is a city I
never want to see, but
here we are in the convention.
On our way through high
school you held my coat a
while, the coat to my herring bone
suit. You left it on the
top of a door. Why would
anyone steal it, except
for the wallet inside?


The assistant offers
a replacement, but this one’s
corduroy! The jacket is
absurd with corduroy
pants, and the interview
is soon. We lack his
car and walk down
town. I hesitate,
an unemployed black
man on the street.


These stairways
are hard to navigate.

A chase for a stranger is
a chase for me. If you
walk past the guard and
face the door, you can blend
under piles of laundry. The
writing is between my toes.
A patron in the concourse
takes dictation.

☼  ⚪


The front lawn
tended by a crew of
two, they cut log
branches into sections.
In the ensuing altercation
I call him a name,
peering with my face in his
navel. The quickened pace
betrays anxiety. I will escape
but without losing face.


The house of sturdy
brick is a professional
house. Together we
deny any access. The
student of politics offers
support, but the party
goer gains admission. This
threat may remain for the
rest of our life, undesirables
drifting in the hall.


A visit to the dead
is accompanied by spring.

I was not prepared
for this. The music
alone is disconcerting,
and we only sense you
through the window. In the
unredecorated bedroom
the limbs of melody
conform to mine.

☼  ⚪


The page is damp.
Walking in the road,
I take up other ideas by
turns, so carefully
typed, with the categories
interleaved. The doubtful
is superior, but both are
clear. As we return,
I glimpse the house
that I had visited.


These are not
resolutions, however
they may seem in retrospect.
I have difficulty counting the
mythic figures. The wise and
powerful simply attend, the
ambivalent Cyprian passes.
Check-size forms
make the true outline
hard to convey.


From the steep incline a
woman addresses the audience,
partly hidden by the railing.
I drop to the floor. Though
a butt of ridicule, yet
I have escaped. And
when the goddesses assemble
with the missing elements,
only seven remain,
but that will be enough.

☼  ⚪