“I think I know the warm place you allude to.
Just between the thighs, is it not, my lady?”
— Frank Harris
Copulations on grand pianos draped in overcoats,
And illuminated by burning children,
Guide us inside for the pearl of great price.
Our questions and cards of aging identity
Have been checked with our hats at the door.
Within, in the gray steam composed of our breath,
The mongoloid’s lips nibble the rose
That pulses and glows in the garden of meat.
No sound at all flows from the audience.
No sound at all but the wind over stones.
Surely some triple somersault is about to be performed.
Surely some deadly edged object is about to be swallowed,
To the death rasps and rattle of drums draped in black.
Surely some revelation is at hand, and its promise,
A love without name, without years, is arriving at last.
We are decently clothed and seated quite primly.
We have read all the arguments and remained most informed.
We have all made it through to these seats, our reward.
But suppose if that coupling couple smeared on the screen
Would appear (for an instant, a moment, a minute)
Immersed with the bloom, the resurrection of the rose,
Possessed of that intelligence which kindles stars,
And capable, in dance, of painting the sunset dawn,
Would we then, yawning, stumble from our seats?
Would we then demand our ragged dollars back?
Nonsense! Bald nonsense! The most formless of fantasies!
For the flesh show, we know, has barely begun
To run on and run on and run on.
The shorts come first, and then cartoons,
And then coming attractions run on and run on and
Tease us deeper towards the Feature! The one we pay and wait for.
Who of all the Shes that She could be will this She be?
Or more precisely what will be the color, length and luster
Of her hair; the tint of nipples, her age and shaving rituals;
Her basic shape complete with curving thighs and breasts?
And what will be the central sight — her central secret now
Revealed, unlike her name, to all admitted here?
Or more precisely still, describe the moves and methods
Done to her, undone in her and spun from her
Beneath the lights and looks and lenses
That complicate her love and face, her lunges
That stimulate our frozen senses.
In how many poses, positions and postures
Can orifices and organs stumble and waddle,
Plugging and piercing and probing and pumping
To the beat and the wheeze of the old in and out?
Men gathered in darkness await their pale answers,
Their eyelids in traction while their hands grasp the void.
Twenty-four images flail every second
Suggesting the best way to beat headache pain,
Suggesting a hole to retire, to die in,
To be buried or burned in the funnel of clocks;
Advising one daily to dispense with all dreams
Left broken in childhood where hopes for the future
Dwelt in dim rooms on cold afternoons
With one naked lightbulb whose hands explored shadows
With the ghosts of small candles.
Dispensed with such riches, this cold pleasure we clutch,
Shutting out silence with hands made of marble,
Supporting the sex shops with the flesh of burned peasants.
Ceaseless and useless and chattering streets.
Shops without limit or number or conscience.
Scraping for mica with frozen, torn fingers
To acquire our quota and provide for our pleasures
With those of another, addicted to rations
Of popcorn and playmates and slaughter and puke.
And yet, who escapes it? No one face can be found.
There remains in the center of all our dreamed heavens
That same barren room with no card on the door.
And the streets that slide out from that room
Are all empty, all barren of traffic or children,
Of laughter or new moons or open far fields
Where green paths beneath branches hang glimmered with rain,
Where no one is running, or lounging or loving.
They have all paid their taxes and gone to the theater —
And the theater is empty though they are all present,
And the seats that wait, folded, are spattered with darkness,
For the Feature is finished and only the night
Remains with its daydreams to lull us in slumber.
Shifting our bodies and rising en masse,
We mumbling shuffle from drama to drugs,
And notice in passing the promising placard.
Tomorrow, as always, there will be a fresh show.
Tomorrow more hours immersed in her thighs
Where the boy with blank eyes will ravish the rose.
He will never be older. He refuses to die.