The bowl made from a tobacco-yellow skull
And the blood of a yearling ox
With seeds of quince floating in it.
Flying low over the marshes
Of a thousand purpling ducks,
And the white dirt of ducks
Over the potato fields.
The lightning starts in granite and forsythia scrub,
The missiles of nettle
Rising in dark sky. Animations of a night bureau
And cedar boards around the dead poet’s button accordion.
Emphysema of sound
From the stars
Where we follow the fires down to the ground.
From boulder to pasturage
To a horse-chestnut tree – cry of killdeer –
That stands like the government agent
With ears of the buddha.
Sprays of rhododendron
Across the caskets of French merchants,
Their daughters and the stewardess
From Marseilles who hurriedly
Washed her speckled breasts in talcum.
The breath taken away
While her wrathful guardian,
A funnel-bird that climbs
Into the wind ploughing air
Over the north Atlantic, tips –
Orange fuel running to the fires.
The black box intoxicated with quiet.
It falls into the sea.
Carbuncle-rubies in the mouths
Of the dead who are swimming toward me.
Charlie Chaplin under a canopy
Of oaks, this poor light
Of the street, where he drags
A burnt, open suitcase along a cobbled relief . . .
The white length of it unrolling:
Butcher paper with a kindergarten’s fingerpaint
Charlie studies the children’s augury:
A fresh pond, red trains, sled dogs
Moving their bowels in harness . . .
A diagonal sleet.
He is ignoring the small boy
Who runs ahead of the milk truck
To the porches of the neighborhood.
On the front page below the index and weather
The platinum ink of a man standing
In a Mercedes-touring, in Rome:
Some goitered gnome, anti-Christ
Of the suburban twilight, waving to us – saying:
Friends, I am the lightning strike
That starts with sky, lake of fire,
Dry and erudite – awaken, husband and wife,
We are now mice in the field
Frightened by the red fattening crest
Of three small fires circling
The wreckage of a blue and white Cessna:
The great folding lung of the accordions
Sending a message
Out of the phosphorus afterlife
Of our rising sun.
Something has begun . . .