Treasure Island

Harold Norse

(1916 - 2009 / born:New York City - died: San Francisco)

Classic Frieze in a Garage


I was walking thru the city past umber embassies
& pine-lined palaces
fat palms beside balconies
the heat something
you could really touch

the kids with cunning
delinquent faces
after americano sailors

-thinking of nerval tends-moi le pausilippe
et la mer d'Italie & living
on the hill posillipo under
a gangster's dancefloor
among goldfinches

on the bay of naples
in a stone cottage
over tufa caves in which the sea
crashed in winter sweet gerard
one hundred years
have made the desolation greater

the tower is really down & the sun blackened
beyond despair the loudspeaker drowns
finches cliffs caves
all in the hands of racketeers
yet i have passed my time dreaming thru this
fantastic wreck

walking thru incendiary alleys of crowded laundry
with yellow gourds in windows &
crumbling masonry of wars
human corruption
so thick and hopeless that i laugh

when suddenly i saw among the oil & greasy rags
& wheels & axles of a garage
the carved nude figures of
a classic frieze
there above the dismantled
parts of cars!

perfect! & how strange! garage
swallows sarcophagus!
mechanic calmly spraying
paint on a
fender
observed in turn by lapith and centaur!

flow
of unthinking flesh!
frank thighs! eyes
of aphrodite!

the myth of the mediterranean
was in that garage
where the brown wiry
youths saw nothing unusual
at their work
among dead heroes & gods

but i saw hermes in the rainbow
of the dark oil on the floor
reflected there
& the wild hair of the sybil
as her words bubbled
mad and drowned
beneath the motor's roar

Submitted: Monday, May 16, 2011
Edited: Monday, May 16, 2011

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