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From Marstower, Copyright 1972, Red Clay Publishers




To Pythias from His Old Friend Damon

All dirges sound the same; the heavy intonations,
       the birdlike mouthings across the sky,
the falling to pieces:  finally
                               accepted.  So what?
I and cruelty go deeper together than slick surfaces
      of plastic--coated postcard,
      even of Auschwitz --
"Having a great time, wish you were here."
       I and cruelty go deeper together in fellowship,
like mating birds, sometimes cruel with beaks
       tearing at each other, so what?
I'm the only one of this deepdiving fellowship to get bloodied,
       and if my mangled hocus--pocus drowns in a poets' lake,
it does not rise up like a living sword
       of Justice.  Antimacassar images of Auschwitz
attract us strongly to the mores and to those odd,
        formal urges of another time:  the good ole forties --
"Wish you were here!"  Finally I have to accept the falling
to pieces:  not even the glittering body of a culturally shared cruelty
       can hold together.  So what.  The victims
ripened into history on the pointed wires and their bodies
       and our minds dropped off into sodden ground.  So what.
All dirges sound like music.  Sing me a formal ditty:
      Lalala forget the folly,
      God's in my mind, all's right with the skull.  So what.
Cruelty and I are higher soaring:  hummingbirds grow big as vultures
here, and they have decadent appetites too.  A wild country --
"Wish you were here."  Where did I see you last?
       And what tuneful abracadabras
of vicious vicarious were you singing
       through your rapacious beak?