ritual is comforting

 

”certain half-deserted streets”

 

I

oh to be in England now
where a camera sits on every pole
on every street like an enemy's head

and in the vague intuition of a garden gloom
the randy and the very unwilling
share the desert's very water
stale unclear

the ripe inanition of an absence
see the city like a widow sits
and will not be comforted
in her distraction

let us bury the old fool


II

a milling if you like about
a certain cast of characters
the small petty gangsters
and credulous children


III

the gavel rapped
I heard in silence
I the court reporter
shush

giggling in his robes
the judge said
look here you
more giggling sneers

I sentence you
you getting this
more sneers laughter
in his sleeve

you got this down
I told him yes
he burst out in a
long guffaw


IV

he didn't like our town he thought it Googly
and offered us geometric palaces out of Europe
we let him raze our town flat till he saw
the writing on the wall and went neo-Modern


V

don't wear anything to bed
or I'll denude you
to have my hands on you
and if you make me angry
show the bruises to your mother in the morning
why hide it
you have shapely breasts
children haven't marred you
while the gods grant
let's make love
for night is coming
night without morning
in one embrace
bound with a chain
time can't break


VI

it used to be a mortuary now a restaurant
what it serves up now it served up then


VII

we're asked to read at the release party
but bidden not to leave once we have read

 

VIII

Cologne on an official bridge
you would have your games
fond of the dance but fearful lest
the weakling of a bridge should fall
into the marsh flat out
arse over tip the whole deal
the thing’s done up again as new
atop the ruins of the old
but I say let it stand o stand
and be the thing you wish
for Martian acolytes to spring
and prank upon all reeling
if Cologne you would mine eyes delight
with a show of gladness here
I want a fellow of the town
a certain one to fall right off
and in the blink of an eye
drop right down just exactly
into the very worst of all the swamp
and never come up again
where you know it’s greenest there
with a stench that’s unbelievable
for truly he’s a cretin
even a tot in his father’s lap
lulled to sleep could not fail
to be of greater delicacy
this one has a wife the bloom
of sunup among the maidens
never a doe so fantastic
in the sweetness of her making
finer grapes were never held
in the keeping of the vintner
she does what she will
and he doesn’t care
he will not rise to the occasion
but lies there like a log
lain in some Ligurian bog
chopped down left and lost
knowing not if it exist
or pine away in oblivion
that’s what he’s like this clod
blinder than he’s deaf or not
who knows not who he is
or if he is or not
hurl him down over the rail
right down into the muck
maybe God willing that will make him
rise from sleep at last
and forever cast from out his person
his dull wit into the slime pit
like the mule’s shoe tacked on
that drops off in the mud