(04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

The Monolithic Stranger

Perfectly, the sun is dying over its hills
Squinting into its world for the last
Minutes of the penultimate hour of the day,
And the homeless men walking the highway
Look up and bless it,
As the warmth of the sun fades away
Into night’s shadowing footfalls,
Fades away like a sedentary traveler
Who watches us leave,
And then unpacks and prays before his sandwich,
Then smiles as he is on to see his second wife:
When the men see him again,
He is like a monolithic stranger over the road,
The treble of his rays like the flaxen diamonds
Of rattlesnakes coiling onto flesh,
Wrinkling and wizening the gypsy things,
And soon they are blessing him
As his monarchy zips the air:
As his sheen quickens the crops and
Seems to make the traffic into fish:
They are going in opposition to the
Blindfolded commuters:
Eastward, where the messiah has already risen:
Through the inebriated waves of
The morning’s sloshing Eucharist
From the great and riotous bays:
The direction that skyscrapers and gravestones face-
None of them can walk a straight line,
And they do this to confuse ex-wives and
Lovers, to throw their children off the scent,
To thatch their hearts into green bottles,
And to forget how to read:
They follow only one thing and he is there,
The crackling scoundrel who leaps from the theft,
The basin of unruly spears lancing from his immortality:
A yellow poet as fat as an elephant swimming in rum:
Strutting over America like a dandy
In a feathered hat of rosy clouds:
Smiling at all the girls on their abutments,
His homeless army marching like intoxicated waves,
As his light hurdles over this continent,
An unlit candle, damaged and harmless.

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