Somewhere a white wall faces a white wall,
one wakes the other, the other wakes the first,
each burning in the other’s borrowed splendor—
the walls, once woken, are forced to go on talking,
their color looks much alike, two shadings of white,
each living in the shadow of the other.
How fine these distinctions when we cannot choose!
Don Giovanni must have drawn sword on such an avenger,
two contracting, white, stone walls—their pursuit
of happiness and his, coincident…
At this point of civilization, this point of the world,
the only satisfactory companion we
can imagine is death—this morning, skin lumping in my throat,
I lie here, heavily breathing, the soul of New York.

April 8, 1968


This Issue

May 9, 1968