for Irving Feldman
Already in the whistling glass of January air
Beneath the thunk and rattle of the great steel Elevated, they sit
Midway through a now familiar passage
When tracing new borders for the Middle East,
Churchill., drunk, allowed his pencil to slip
And left a thirty-mile polyp on the page
Decisions are uncomfortable
In this atmosphere. Valves drain, swell to ballad—
I arrive, one more uninvited guest.
A June storm coasts down the horizon
My father chased pirates on the Yangtze
And sowed moats on the great rust hills of Mars.
I stretched on the gently tilted deck. Cool sun
Flared through clouds dyed and bruised like the sea.
The harpooned great white shark heaves onto sand,
Nudged by waves, red cavern of dripping teeth.
A crowd comes. Loud gulls wreathe the booming mist.
Blue flies cloud the fishy sunset, and land.
The sky is warm and heavy before rain.
You throw down anchors. They till lines in soft
Clay, blooming muddy clouds. You sometimes slow,
Sometimes speed, as you pass forest and plain.
The city is cat piss and dog shit. It stinks,
And the humid air smells like mold. I lie in bed,
Too hot to move, slick with sweat, wait for dark.
Blue flies eddy over the cluttered sink.
What is the chance that it would fold like this?
In the silted gutter, edged by gravel,
Flanked by cigarette ends, receipts, and leaves,
A rubber band, very easy to miss,