M. Sartre Considers Current Affairs

Humped, at his huge broken wing of shadow,
He regrows the world inside his skull, like the specter of a flower.

His eyes are imprisoned in the fact
That his hands have sunk to the status of flies.

With skull-grins, the earth’s populations
Drift off over graves, like the fumes of a rained-out campfire.

He yawns, tilting an extinct eyeball
To the fly asleep on the lampshade.

Yet his heart pounds on undeterred—

The skull-splitting polyp of his brain, on its tiny root,
Lolls out over him ironically:

Angels, it whispers, are metaphors, in man’s image,
For the amoeba’s exhilarations.

He sits on, in the twice-darkened room,
Pondering on the carrion-eating skate,

And on its wings, lifted, white, like an angel’s;
And on those cupid lips in its deathly belly;

And on the sea, this tongue in his ear, licking the last of pages.


Kafka Writes

And he is an owl.
He is an owl, “Man” tattooed in his armpit
Under the broken wing,
(stunned by the glare, he fell here)
Under the broken wing of huge shadow that twitches across the floor.

He is a man in hopeless feathers.

This Issue

November 3, 1966