Between the visits to the shock ward
The doctors used to let you play
On the old upright Baldwin
Donated by a former patient
The dog stops barking after Robinson has gone.
His act is over. The world is a gray world,
Not without violence, and he kicks under the grand piano,
The nightmare chase well under way.
To Ernest Brace
"And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was
about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto
This nothingness that feeds upon itself:
Pencils that turn to water in the hand,
Parts of a sentence, hanging in the air,
Thoughts breaking in the mind like glass,
The porchlight coming on again,
Early November, the dead leaves
Raked in piles, the wicker swing
Creaking. Across the lots
Looking into my daughter’s eyes I read
Beneath the innocence of morning flesh
Concealed, hintings of death she does not heed.
Under the bunker, where the reek of kerosene
Prepared the marriage rite, leader and whore,
Imperfect kindling even in this wind, burn on.
The tower bell in the Tenth Street Church
Rang out nostalgia for the refugee
Who knew the source of bells by sound.
We liked it, but in ignorance.
Squat, unshaven, full of gas,
Joseph Samuels, former clerk
in four large cities, out of work,
waits in the darkened underpass.