Within the church they opened a train station:
waiting room, altar lamps, icons, and booths.
The crowded choirs buzz like a cauldron,
and female cashiers with mouths like fake rubies.
Restrooms and frescoes. The Christmas star
turned to ash like Mary dressed in black.
You open the altar gates like doors—
exit and walk down the first platform.
And there, trains and wind before rain. The light
from candles guttering like voices at a banquet.
We cluster around the car. And blowing a whistle,
a proletarian prophet in a red service cap.
Within the school they opened a hotel:
someone gets ready to sleep with somebody.
Wet stalactites pulsate from the ceiling,
high school girls crave cotton candy
and, twisting the channels of intertwined arms,
master the essence of the natural sciences.
Within the castle they opened a hospital:
there chivalry rambles in shabby pajamas
as if beaten by fire or plucked from a stake,
and they prepare a diagnosis like planning a murder.
Because at night in each of the dimly lit towers
chivalry’s treated for shame. With hammer and nails.
Within the circus they opened a factory:
there a proud people fly over the lathes
in gaudy clown makeup from ear to ear.
Within the sky they opened a prison.
Within the body they opened darkness.
Within the spirit they opened bedlam.