. by Donald J. Fo
This is the numerous wrath of slanting sleet-
the quivering veil, the bitter vapor-
This is the blazing cat's-head in the fog-
the whiskers tremble, the song is silk
from the womb
of human inhibitions and complexes
emerged this Cyclops,y
beat us to passive submission;
brooked no lifted hand
on pain of banishment;
in thought and act
toy soldiers from a single mould
the dictator Cyclops,
This is the storm of destined symmetry--
the ominous chant, the muted cry:
"Thrice the three,
that all may die!"
Descend in promised cold from trolley cars,
Walk from December afternoon to night
Measured by perpetual electric light;
Set down the head beside a dinner pail,
Bolt in the voluntary foot,
Assemble arms to accent back,
The mumbling of machines.
Certain of metal, the arc explodes
Sets up a shadow, the shadow's gone.
Rote taught, the hand and-eye assure
The molten repetition of the theme.
Completion and the flesh not loose
Stutters on the oil sleek stair;
The economic man and sweat exchanged
For the city's winter air.
The wind of an old desertion hurt
Supposes arrival, stands at the factory door,
The half lit cigarette
Awakes in sulphur flare.
The snow in the clutch of light is soft
As the unbought waiting whore
Comes, too, to scuffled end beside a door.
Tentative as unformed and expectant steel
The unmeshed tendons move again
Regain familiar tongue and let in .man.,
SCENE: Street corner, late at night. lbamp post, lighted, with police phone box
attached. Fire hydrant, waste box, etc. Shadows of buildings in the background.
Ivan:. Young radical with long black hair, Byronesque shirt collar, etc.
Cop: Huge, stupid, Irish, honest.
Yasha, Washa, Kasha: Bearded, obviously, almost theatrically, Red.
(Ivan is discovered leaning against the lamp post, smoking a cigarette. He looks
at his watch impatiently, walks a few turns, then returns to the lamp post. Cop
enters, sees Ivan, stops, stares, then walks up behind. Taps Ivan on shoulde'r
with night stick) %
Cop: Hey, bum, you can't sleep-there. Get goin', or I'll run you in.
Ivan: (Turns casually. Says pleasantly to the cop) Good evening, officer. (Turns
Cop: (Taken aback) An' a good evening to you, too. But you'll have to move on now.
Ivan: (Turns to the cop, interested) Why?
Cop:,Why . . . why it's the law.
Ivan: What law?
Cop: The . . the law against standing on street corners.
Ivan: Is there such a law?
Cop: Of course there is.
Ivan: I can hardly believe it.
Cop: Look, I'll show you. (Begins to fumble through his pockets). Though God
knows why I should show you.
Ivan: Why, officer. It's your plain duty to inform citizens of the law. You know,
proper promulgation is a main part of every law.
Cop: Ah, here it is. (Brings out red-covered book. Flips the pages, then reads hesi-
tatingly, squinting in the meager light of the street lamp) "Loitering day or
night on the city's streets or corners is not to be permitted. Persons refusing to
obey this law are liable to 30 days incarceration." (Closes book. Looks up) There,
Ivan: Well if that isn't the most foolish law I ever heard tell of . . .
Ivan: Of course, don't you think so?
Cop: (Pleased) Well, of course I'm in no position to say.
Ivan: What d'you mean.
Cop: After all I've got to obey what I'm told to do.
Ivan: (Enjoying himself) Who tells you what to do?
Cop: Why, the captain, of course.
Ivan: Who tells him what to do?
Cop: (Thinks a moment) The City's Chief of Police.
Ivan: (Insistant) Who tells him what to do?
Cop: Why, I. . I don't know.
Ivan: I'll tell you. The mayor tells him what to do.
Cop: Yesss, I guess that's right.
Ivan: And now can you tell me. officer, who tells the mayor what to do?
Cop: Why, the mayor does what he wants. . . (weakly) doesn't he?
Ivan: (As though angry. Tears his hair slightly) What the . . . What the . .
(Explodes) He certainly does not. The mayor does what the people tell him to
do, or else he wouldn't be elected, would he?
Cop: Yes. . .thatis. . .no!
Ivan: That's right. So, officer, in the final analysis, who tells who what to do? The
people! I'm one of the people. You're another. If we don't like theselaws, if
they're foolish, what do we do? We destroy them. We make them, we can destroy
Cop: (Thinking a moment) Yeah, that sounds all right. But . .
Ivan: But what?.
Cop: But still, if we don't obey the laws we're put into jail.
Ivan: That's right. And who puts us in jail?
Cot The police.
Ivan: But I just told you that the police simply do what the people want them to
do. If the people don't want to go to jail, they don't have to. Don't the people
make the laws? Don't the people build the jails?
Ivan: Certainly. That's the correct expression, Gosh! You never thought that you
were the prime mover, the great force in this city, did you?
Cop: No . . . no, I never did.
Ivan: Well, you are. And so am I. And so are my friends. By the way, (Looking at
his watch) where the devil are my friends.
Cop: (Anxiously) Are they late?.
Ivan: I'll say they are. More than half an hour. I hope nothing happened to them.
We've got a big time ahead of us tonight.
Cop: Yeah, it'd be too bad if anything happened to them. Are you going to a party?
Ivan: (Laughs) Yeah. We're going to a swell party. (Stops suddenly. Then says,
with a devilish look in his eyes) Say! Maybe you'd like to go along.
Cop: Oh, I can't, thanks. I'm on duty, you know.
Ivan: Yeah, that's too bad. Boy, it's going to be a honey of a party.
Cop: Where is it? I get off pretty soon. Maybe I could come over later.
Ivan (Nonchalantly) It's over at to'e Hoard Factory.
Cop: Golly, that's an odd place for a party.
Ivan: Well, it's an odd party.
Cop: (Greatly interested) Oh? Is Mr. Hoard giving it?
Ivan: Well, yes and no. (Laughs) You see, it's sort of a surprise on him.
Cop: Oh, a surprise party! I had one of those once, on my birthday. They're
(Yasha, Washa, and Kasha enter, slinkingly. Yasha and Washa carrying a
great box between them. They approach under the glow of light. Set box down
with almost overdone caution.)
Yasha: We are here!
Washa: We are here!
Kasha: We are here!-
Ivan: Well, it's damn near time. Where've you been all evening?
Washa: Shhhh (Finger to lips. Points at cop)
Ivan: Eh? (Then laughs) Oh don't worry about him. (Puts arm about cop) He's a
friend of mine. (To cop he says) Officer, I want you to meet three very good
friends of mine. I'd like you to be their friend, too. (
Washa, Kasha. (Extravagant bows)
Cop: Delighted, I'm sure.
Yasha: A friend of Ivan's is a friend of ours.
Washa: A friend of ours is a friend of Ivan's.
Kasha: God is good.
Ivan: Our friend here and I have just proved between u
actually run the country.
Yasha: Ahh, the good man.
Washa: Ahh, the noble man.
Kasha: Ahh, a friend of ours. God is good to give us such
Cop: (Blushing. Pleased as Punch at such praise) Well, b
Ivan: God is indeed good. But what kept you so long? W
Yasha: We had trouble.
Wmsha and Kasha (Arms upraised in torture at the ri
Yasha: We couldn't find an alarm clock. The store wou.
Washa and Kasha: (As before) Ahh, the bleeding ca
Yasha: So, finally we were forced to break a window.
Washes: I did it. (Proudly points to cranium) With my h
Kasha: Ahh, noble man. Ah, good and holy man.
Yasha: And then a policeman stopped us.
Cop: (Interestedin shop-talk) He did? I bet it was that k
Washa: So we had trouble (pause) convincing the offi
Kasha: (Proudly) I did it, with my little friend. (Shows 1
Washa: Ahh, brave, honorable man.
Yasha: And then we hurried right over here.
Ivan: You were not followed?
Yasha: Oh, no. We made sure of that...
Cop: It serves Casey right. And all for a little alarm cl
an alarm clock. His wife calls him.
Washa: An evil man.
Kasha: God is good to let him cross our path.
Ivan: (Impatiently) We're wasting time here. Let's get gi
Cop: Are you all going to the Hoard party?
Yasha: (Laughs) How whimsical. (To Ivan) He knows i
Ivan: Not all, but enough. He wants to go with us!
Washa and Kasha: Ahh, a man who loves us, our cause.
Cop: Yes, sir! I surewould like to see Mr. Hoard's face v
Yasha: Shh. . . Not so loud. (Looking around).
Cop: Oh, that's right, it's a surprise. It wouldn't do to Il
Ivan: (Shuddering) Ugh, no!
Yasha, Washa, Kasha: No!
Cop: (Pointing at box) Is that the present for Mr. Hoa
Ivan: (Laughing) Yeah. Pretty big isn't it?
Cop: I'll say. You fellas must like him a lot.: Most of the
don't like him at all.
Ivan: But we-we're different. We appreciate him.
Cop: (After a pause begins to move away) Well, enjo
God! I sure would like to go with you fellows.
Ivan: (Thinks for a moment, then says quite. happily) Say
Ivan: Sure, look. (Points to phone box) Just call up the
going over to the Hoard Factory for a little party.
Cop: Hey! He won't like that. He'll fire me!
hyan: He can't. Aren't you the people? Didn't you put
call him up.
Cop: (Ponders over this, Finally) OK. I'll do that. An
let him know who's boss of things around here. The
Ivan: That's the spirit.
Yasha: Ahh;"noble man!
Washa: Ahh, spirited man!
Kasha: God is good!
Cop: (Opens box with key. Takes out phone. Winks a
Hello, Chief? This is No. 453. Yeah. Say, Chief, I'
..night off to go over to a surprise party at the Hoarc
mine. What? Hey, wait aminute. Why you ...
(Listens, then in great anger explodes). You'll eat th
to me like that. I'll have you know I'm your superior
Wait until the people's will, my will is put in action.
down receiver onto hook. Replaces phone. Slams e
hard, staring at the box. He even goes so far as to ki
over. Let's go.
(Ivan, meanwhile, has been whispering to his cronies.
they all break out laughing as at the climax of a good
Ivan: O.K. Officer. (Makes turn to go. Then stops). Say
food and drinks?
Yasha: (Snaps his fingers at his feigned ignorance).
They're still at the house back there.
Cop: What's the matter?
Ivan: These fools are supposed to take care of the food
And they go and leave them all at the house.
Washa:.I'll go back and get them.
Yasha: Ahh, there's too many bundles for one, or even t
Ivan: (Ponders) I'll tell you what. (Turns t& cop).
Hoard's Factory is, don't you?
Cop: Yeah. It's just a ways down here. It's on my beat.
Ivan: Look, then. Why don't you go on ahead. We'll g
catch up with you.
941 3A4 4itic~t
The instructor turned from the bank of shale (Devonian,
the notebooks said)
and showed them a soft grey bed of clay, hardening,
he told them, to become in time solid rock.
The instructor said: who puts his footprints here
stamps them on time, for some strange race yet unborn
to pry from the earth, peer at classify.
Our footprints on time! Our footprints on time!
the students of Geology Twelve, and they stamped in
on the pliant clay, as the instructor turned away and
Once, beneath the sky's unprinted parallel
sweep of eastern continental snows;
Braced to the Atlantic a sea-green an white-capped wall
Of forest, unbudging when the shore line blows;
Men and women northeasterly of soul,
Rock boned, visionary, the mind's ear hard pressed
Against the forest's edge, straining to catch the roll
Of milder June Atlantics to the west.
Today a forest fossilized to steel,
Of a continent's breadth, thick velvet floored"
With time's mold, bacterial and snowy beneath the heel;
A race better dead and buried from the sun than spored
With ocean-less and sun-less passions-death, the real,
The Easterly, northeast Resurrection, with its own sun cored.