for whom the bluebirds of happiness
Dress up as prison guards,
Raising your arms – just now – in
Grasping a chicken leg gnawed to the
Of the wig shop choir!
could almost hear it, the last glorious F
Still hovering in
the chilly night air
As I stepped into the
The mad king applauding
his two red hands.
Shoes of the Old Ones
Along with the horses and clouds
admired themselves in the cobbler’s window.
uppers of heavy tooled leather,
Like an old-fashioned valise
Into which important papers are slipped,
Bruised with the seal of a bank, or even an empire.
Thick-soled, cut broad across the instep,
somehow held close, the expected scents
Of their human
owners: sweetish and fearsome.
I see them lined up beneath
the pews at church,
Like sentences in an archaic tongue,
Punctuated by the tips of canes.
chase the first night jitters I drank apple wine
my fingers one on the other
Like lobster claws and waved
over my head menacingly.
I stomped my feet
And made the
rat turds dance.
An icy draft circled the room
The cupboards were bare, of course,
were the walls,
Except for the dime store Jesus
Cross somebody gave a hotfoot to.
In a dark windowpane I watched myself
pages struck golden by candlelight.
I could have been the Duc
Admiring a well-turned field, a forest
under an azure sky,
But I wasn’t. Instead there
was a photograph
Of a schoolboy holding a machine gun
Puffing on a fat cigar,
And later on one of a
woman leaning forward
On a three-legged chair
beside her cheek like a puppet
A picture of her long-faced
Their two mouths
Half open to a street filled
with burning garbage,
As if they’d both lurched up
of the same nightmare.
The Lord Almighty himself
a little nervous too, I noticed,
Peering fretfully over his
In the wavering light,
This way and then that,
if missing the company
Of the Good Thief,
And, then, even