For Carl Proffer

The concrete needle is shooting its
heroin into cumulous wintry muscle.
From a trash can, a spy plucks the crumpled morsel,
blueprint of ruins, and glances East.

Ubiquitous figures on horseback; all
four hooves glued to their marble bracket.
The warriors apparently kicked the bucket
crushing bedbugs on the linen sprawl.

In the twilight chandeliers gleam akin
to bonfires, sylphides weave their sweet pattern;
a finger, eight hours poised by the button,
relaxes fondling the hooded twin.

Windowpanes quiver with tulle’s soft ply;
the besom of naked shrubs is bothered
by the evergreen rustle of money, by the
seemingly non-stop July.

A cross between a blade and a raw
throat, uttering no sound however,
the sharp bend of a level river
glistens covered with icy straw.

Victim of lungs though friend to words,
the air is transparent, severely punctured
by beaks which treat it as pens treat parchment,
by the visible only in profile birds.

This is a flattened colossus veiled
by the gauze thickening on the horizon
edged with the lacework of wheels gone frozen
after six by the curb’s gray welt.

Like the rodent creeping out of a scarlet crack
the sunset gnaws hungrily the electric
cheese of the outskirts, erected
by someone who trusts his knack

of surviving everything: by termites.
Warehouses, surgeries. Having measured
there the proximity of the desert,
the cinnamon-tinted earth waylays its

horizontality in the fake
pyramids, porticoes, rooftops’ ripple,
as the train creeps knowingly like a snake
to the capital’s only nipple.

This Issue

December 22, 1983