i i a,. M n..r s s.w +t. i i * i.l M
Garden In The Rain
M IDNIGHT on the flaming lawn
While black hawks
Suckle the glass flowers.
The shuffle of rain
Plunking against twisted trellises
Know at the root
Gyrations of earthworm.
A tube of wind
Splits petal from petal
Anemone moon blackens
And shrieking flowers
Lift hungry mouths
To descending harp strings.
- Howard Moss
mas Eve-43rd Street
THE moment is laughter.
Consecrated with artificial bulbs
The people begin their ritual.
Each in his vault
Sends the sterile beam
Opens the door,, shyly
Is it you? Is it time?
Light beating through the streets
And suddenly snow, welcome to hide
The frayed collar, the torn glove
Tomorrow's failure typewritten across the sky,
Through the blue gutters
Where the horse's dung
Lies in the yellow sewers
Come the people
With the clenched hands
The tight lips
To be consecrated
To be set free
Spun in music a moment
In the purple light
To be chained again
To the :hamburger stand
To the steel frame
To the RemingtonNoiseless
The ritual is escape.
Pickerel with the neon tail
For the people
For the people who live
By the bells
By the buttons
By the dials
For the people who lie awake
Afraid, and counting the hours
For the people who choose
Between milk and shoes
Is it time?
Man, with the violin
With the green face
With the Jesus smile
With the snowed in coat
Is it you? Is it time?
PYRRHA, what blade bedewed with sweet perfume
'Neath cooling cavern on a rosy bed
Woos you to-day?
For whom do you bind back your golden locks
In simple way?
Too soon the storm will rage, black clouds arise,
The sea grow rough beneath his failing oar.
Ah, woe to him
Who thinks you his, pure gold and fancy-free.
His feeble whim!
Ah, wretched they on Whom you gleam untried!
But courage, lads, I too, put forth my bark
My garments hang s offerings on the-wall
And there they drip!
*HORACE-Odes I 5
- Translated by Georgia E. Christlieb
Walk In Rny Season
CLIMBING LIGHTS on the wet highway stopped us
As we crossed the highway.
We thought much of the clamoring neon signs
By the high, red gasoline sign
Complaining to the wind.
Fields going out from the city and the little houses
Shrinking back from the fields
Into jerrytown or thrift city or missouriville.
Do 'they give it a name in your city?
The stove exploded and the child was dead
In the two roomed houses with fried potatoes and numbers.
You know your number on Buena Vista or Cloverdale
Or, on the tired nights, you walk in on Joe's wife.
When tarpaper and dust come soft on the summer air;
Maybe you wouldn't know then.
Save your wife from your raping neighbor, Joe!
Give her a badge, have a numbered wife.
Number out of number by number.
Build you a home in the wilderness
Where running water and the smell of hay meet.
Smell the brass tap in the kitchen that is chlorine and
This is an epic work to be sung,
To be written
On the yellow bill board by the highway,
Between the church and the dealer in second hand parts,
In red letters to attract the envious stares.
The Chevrolets and the Buicks on the road
Would hum it in gasoline breath
To the six-eight cylinder beat of Detroit or Saginaw
Or your town.
Many are born in the days and nights,
Many ride off on the obsolete bus to school,
Many make sparkplugs in the factory over there
And build these slatted walls.
Suppose one wrote this song
The lights stepped up the wet pavement out of jerrytown,
And we looked back to see if any followed.
Ballad Of Bertrand
L ONG these hallowed walls have stood
And long this institution
Has kept its portals undefiled
By logic and pollution.
Its soul is clean, its heart is pure
And policy sagacious
Deems it wise to ban all views
Immoral and salacious.
For Bertrand Lord Russell
That creature perfidious
Threatens to spread
His doctrines insidious
But we of the court, upholders of right
Shall keep City College in sweetness and light.
The City College student mind
Subjected to seduction
Foretells a generation doomed
To ethical destruction -
This alien's agnostic talk
(Decrees the Court judicious)
Cultivates a train of thought
Both noxious and pernicious.
For Bertrand, Lord Russell
Son of Britannia
Must never corrupt
The Star Spangled Bannia.
Mistah Kurtz-He Dead
T HE PEOPLE climb the tired sky
Divided in a thousand camps
In ash cans headlines gutted lie
And evening's shudder lights the lamps.
Love is a penny broken and bent
Laughter a book, unopened, lent
Dream is a robot'ringing a bell
All for a nickel this side of hell.
iusic, recorded, five-tubed and jazz
Mother looks echarming washing the stairs,
Daddy is Teading, a-knife through his head
Sister is dying, upstairs in bed.