Saturday, September 15, 2012

Twilight in Birdville

Twilight in Birdville, high
up over the low-rent, low-rider
streets there hovers the humming
Mother Ship, its One Eye blinks,
threatening Apocalypse while also
watching the tourists lined up below
along the cyclone fence to watch
the holy nudists file slowly into
the white frame church, where

Inside, down rambling passageways past
empty, musty Sunday School classrooms,
past the leaking baptismal, past the velvet
painting of Jesus in Gethsemane weeping
blood and tears, Father Silenus comes at last
to the dormitory where the women sleep,
and performs his ritual, visiting each Sister
in turn … till one grasps the serpent and
gasping with horror, weeping, speaks
of her baby lost in the deeps …

I comfort her, or try … then wrap the baby in tinfoil
and a white sheet and together we carry it down the street
to Infinity’s Mirror standing tall like a drive-in theater screen
(but one which few dare stop and stare into without a blink)
and see there a snapshot of two frightened Sisters …
“I want to go there,” she says, but her

Twin blocks the way … a brief struggle = And now
we are Four, carrying the foil-and-sheet-wrapped baby
in sorrowful procession to the Rio Ganges … where we
board a waiting riverboat whistling in the dark, and after
a voyage long and arduous, and down down down into
the abiding deeps, the boat begins to fill with water, and
the captain abandons ship, and we wade ashore, and then

Walk up the cracked and weedgrown steps into
an Indian restaurant decorated with Bollywood posters,
and out the other side and onto the dirty streets at
dawn, and weep, and weep, and weep.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Me and Old Wolf

Pre-dawn Capitol Metro bus ride: sleepy faces faintly lit in fleeting shadows, we're flowing with the Headlight River down rush-hour Lamar into the ragged northern edge of Austin … body shops and discount furniture stores dark and dusty … 7-11 lit up and gas pumps pumping … Dan’s Hamburgers already serving breakfast for the fatbacks … Mexican construction workers already sweating under white movie-lights … college kids and office workers lined up inside Ken’s Donuts … and the funeral home lit up bright inside where they’re polishing the caskets, getting the Dead ready for the day … I’m trying to recall the fragments of a dream …

But like a drunken night badly remembered … (something about a circus and a storm) ... only fragments remain: the ragged remnants of the show blown away in the howling night (after epic hilarity and riotous fun), and now only tattered pieces of tent and colorful pennants remain … and trapeze wire and clown shoe, and sparkly ball rolling in the mud … evocative of what? … I dunno’, but it was Epic, and these few pieces of memory only vaguely reminiscent of the Greatest Flea-Bitten Show on Earth … a storm so terrible … but what went down? … was I to blame? … distressing not to know in the Headache Hung-Over Dawn, yet a few stray clues remain:

So different did she look now. She
had a harelip and feathery scales
down the side of her face … "You
don't like me any more," she said,
and turned away. "Why of course
I do,” I said, and tried hard not to look
into her tortured soul … (pages in the book
are brittle old newsprint, dark and brown
and fall apart to the touch
... "What are
the Pretenders doing here?”)

Then came the Wise Old Man out of the
Cold North looking for His Son ... and walking
the leaf-strewn tall-house streets of Bartlesville
at bursting dawn, forlorn and lost, he sadly said,
"Me and Old Wolf could go two months without food ...
but those … were better days”