RADIANT CITY Poem by Joshua Clover


First it was one thing then it was
one thing after another. We
tend to think of fused flowers

as igniting outward from a
central place as in sex as in
Haussmann's Radiant City. I

saw it live on TV.
From overhead it's possible
to speak of the whole thing. First day

of the riots but before that
I was near home when S - this is
just a personal incident -

passed by in an old red shirt. They
weren't letting people out of
the stations as of the early

rumors of lootings. This after
Eastern Europe. Building burning
to the south as in parables

as in what punk rock promised. I
found this exciting. "He was
in control of the whole thing."

The word is S doesn't do men
anyway. A few shopping bags
came into the City via

the last trains before the curfew.
We saw the 81 seconds
on TV maybe a thousand

times. Enough house-burnings for night
visions in Los Angeles but
still the helicopters busy

not really looking just humming
overhead. A car rocked side
to side as in a carnival

ride then rolled it ignited as in
an excellent carnival ride. No
clear argument - the whole thing was

interruption. She was naked
the one time we met she was in
a friend's bed to be delicate

in a state of some déshabille.
Radiant as for example
1700 infrared

poppies blooming in the over-
head footage of south central. The
second night of riots. As in

Berlin years back - we have all seen
this footage - when the Wall came down
the main thing was chocolate also

blue jeans. "He kept trying to get
back up." We would not be allowed
to leave the station the police would

put us right back on the train. We
would not be allowed to leave . . . the
stations lacquered sanitary

eggshell tones. Architecture as in
a floral pattern of faint veins
radiating from her pubic

cup across her hips & down her
thighs. We like to think we would get
on our knees only for love. An

older woman bearing her purse
into the City 60 feet
below the broken glass bolted

across the platform from our
train to the opposite track. Hours
passed after S until I loved

the looters. In homes we watched
the ether as in shopkeepers
shooting into a crowd. To the

opposite track - hours where the
walled city of I wanted
was hidden by the bright city

of had need as in being blown
away from that place in fractures
of reflective rubble. I had

planned to practice the compliance
position with my hands on my
head not trying to rise but was

interrupted - as in fantasies
of S in riot gear. This was
the poppy vision. I admit

I found the whole thing exciting.
We have all seen this footage.

Joshua Clover

Joshua Clover

Berkeley, California
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