Scoop their purse roll, bread pocket,
then be generous enough to fill, fair
set declined to invite on this ticket:
sufficient a terrace of houses, an isle,
to the mall adaptation in heels came,
tugging a bell-pull so it will work:
more true than crisis, middle-age said,
or than the counterfeit ex-nihilo:
Less pain in the tomb? Beneath lids?
Entice crumbled heels for its relief
maculation, quenchless light, fat-cat
store of their recompense withheld
Mass attention behind the legislature
tracks breadline stir devotional silk:
Here are the times you shall visit.
One scoop for the jar of snow, more
scoops for a society journal but o
lids, opening to assuage yet hunger.
How long ago, John, it was
in a shop long gone on Silver Street
I found your Selected Poems.
They led me to another Cambridge;
you rummaged shelves, another
phantasm checks the books.
You returned the one call I made,
return it still
decreeing the phone’s flourish
issues this command to a ballroom
on Times Square. Even
through my timidity, never
risked under a ladder
dragged on stone on Beacon Hill,
trying the rungs to three went dizzy:
Behind my lids clings suspended
Basement entrance, side door.
Fifth floor walk-up. Gas lamp.
Vague flavours drawn out to quarrel
with each other, the donnée too
drifts no longer, asking
to be heard, grave & immediate.
How can any agree his desires.
From the idle crush a
balancing act, absurd & evocative,
a looping rope of pearls
teeters & stumbles down to us to fix
laddering need –
raised to the stars’ raillery