Sunday, March 8, 2015


(This feature is part of TRUCK’s Theme Issue on the List or Catalog Poem. You can go HERE for an Index of the Participating Poets.)

(Henry Darger’s Divine Stutter)

you opened your fatty woman arms to me
back alley pissdogs snarled kept
river pigeons and sleek hustlers at bay
slang mud up my boots tore
my coat shed light the city sin-full
busted my heels my pleasures 
my rotten hands

I listened head down
to trot-horses bellies aglow with calcium
electric cackles as gas mains burst
and manhole covers tiddlywinked the sky
greased cogs and Turkish baths
chewed my crotch alive slipped 
on hot oil griddles the tin factory
coffins with rods that went through
their diseased bodies

chicken pox
scarlet fever
whooping cough

thighs apart in sticky sweat 
starched linen hankies 
initials stitched in their corners
ice sickles corkscrewed 
from your eaves horses whinnied worked
the earth rich with Mothers
and hay-boats and fragrant steaming blankets
tea like smoke 
your sick teeth
sugar cakes for Catholics
in basements after mass 
cold everywhere I lapped up 
the girls who came close checked
their tongues gave my teeth a shudder
my sweet tooth I never lit a fire
nor tore the bell from a bull
gently swung them up Riverside Park
across the canal and back
swung them in my arms and sang 

brittle under snow and slick
the man his arm bit off by a horse
flapped his stump at children poked
us hard on the backside our broken rectums
wet seams opened in zero forever your flat
plateau stretched for miles 
every which way Chicago
insipid angel
filthy guard and pummeled 
cracked the breviary beast

descend whore frost
descend Vespers
descend Compline
descend Mary’s putrid anklets

your babies waited for foul Santy
in their beds I did I did
EAT THEM every one
whacked the alter with a stick and myrrh
Land of Lincoln’s tragedy

Leopold and Loeb 
Big Jim Colosimo
Jake Lingle
Al Capone
German Church Road
The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre

goats whickered at night
and gunfire crimes small as mine
under mute covers
stupid corn husked sidewalks
white in August while wind spoilt my bent back
over lengthened cuffs lowered collar
steel needles copper wire
celluloid and wool
I was a tailor’s son
goose iron hissing goodbye goodbye
as I slid out her hole 

I tended your sick
I washed your pots
I rolled your bandages
I scrubbed your hospital-puke floors
I stole your whatnots
and loved those whatnots in gangrene sleeves
Darlings! I implored you! wind scabbed
what beauty was left wheat hair plump legs
dogs howled in grain elevators stiff as what
was below the horse knacker’s mustache
shivered with snot
on fire for Saint. Helena Saint. Constantine
your belly-thick rummage trains
bounded over iron over wolves and foxes
bridges and trestles flattened cables strung
like piano wings vibrated thrust and buckled
your ribs
your ribs
showed all the way through

METROPOLIS first appeared, in an earlier form, in South Dakota Review, Volume 49, Issue 3.

1 comment:

  1. This poem flexes its muscles. Incredible energy running through it.