I used to sit often composing the manuscript
never denouncing and therefore not to be written
without preparation for trial.
I’d sit contemplating unobvious thoughts without poetry,
being the poet of adequate life
on broken brick steps full of contractions
of piles and pimply sores from the stone
and syphilis-eyed hypochondria sleep-thinking germs
and I caught my first cold fifteen histories ago
in the maggoty festering garbage-can alley
back of my mother’s rear room.
I used to sit dreaming the dreams of accomplishment
marching in questionable cadences down to the foot
of the Harborside Terminal
into the emptying carrying cars of Spry and Colgate
Mullers outgoing spaghetti and infinite
counting the black-balled parolees and broken-backed
spics, Italian laborers, Polacks and sweaty
old terminal boss,
whose unknotted tie and left-wide-agape collar
was motive enough to imagine the noose.
When I was ten I discovered the poet and quick
circulated great novels of spy and adventure
and killer police, whose murderous face
I didn’t at first grasp
until I discovered a cop humping some young
indiscernable girl in the park.
She addressed him with delicate fits from her lips
which turned ghostly and blue and the dress tore away
and he popped with a joy every cop in New Jersey recalls.
Since then I have hated what passes as law
and the ten-year-old grew but the poet did not
and the novels fell off into idiot poems
and madness and sight of my city,
the city of squares and the city of Pharisees
all mobbed into a mass of the lewdest advertisement,
tight demin levis – buck shoes for the silent
and cardigan jitterbug jackets with saddle stitched pockets
of rubber …
I’ve never been ready for trial.
But Carole Fugate has!
Sweet youngest ever martyr
City killer high accomplishment ”
“in her peaceful, pensive, elemental face
the Virgin Mary ended indecision
and elected to abide
in every sinew’s whore-mastered inch
of Charlie’s sweet
and favored yards of flesh.
How did he do it to you? Whispering ‘mother’?
or ‘little sister’? What of your idiot’s eyes?
Now it is more than Charlie’s, sweet ”
now it is every lecherous penis
legality has – every sensuous
prick of old righteousness! Lord, how they’re prodding,
those moot prosecutors!
In love with your lips and in love with your belly’s
white warmth, 0 human – 0 animal “heavenly
screwed little girl – in love with your crying’s pure
succulent salt of the heart – hot heart of the murderess ”
heart of the victim, whispering ‘love’ and whispering
and the minor-thief’s heart in my own hunting skin
corresponds to your sexual lips of immaculate
I would run my cool tongue
in your mouth, eat your tears, taste your difficult
My city envisions your breast beneath which
is the heart that addresses itself,
and the answers?
No; it wasn’t odd
when I went
into the streets
and out of my home,
so long out of sorts –
was I out of my mind, too,
with the dread melancholy
stuck edgewise into my brain
and into my guts,
only man-guts, not pig-iron
but twisted and flanged
and eroded with rust?
So I had to walk
and I walked, way outward
onto the unfamiliar street
where people are not always people –
And I. took in my hand
in my coat and conjoined
a pistol, in case –
to decide things
But the dreary, unfluctuables pinioned me
stiff-columned into my shoes. The trigger-taut
sinewous spindle stood me up clotheslessly still
to suffer the bearable whipping of fingers
over the mutable flesh –
sonofabitching flac ”
the criminal shots, were
pinned, like medals of thievery,
onto my breast;
and my waxworkwings
found Icarus’s pool;
and I’m here now,
It is sometimes the way our necessity balks
at a curve, to be tried.
To be taken in dubious custody, chained
to a chair in the precinct called lst
and allowed the due processes up to the neck
of the fist and the shattering bludgeoning hard?-
rubber hose of an arm’s length.
question and answer and hate
for the acne-nervousness paused on the face
and the please-leave-me-alone in the watery eyes
that were blue turning black from the law’s
dark insensible glare ”
whose brute badges of courage and bravery stare,
because Hart Crane might have had one of the heads
that was cracked by the graces
of nightstick and sailor Bayonne!
How their foolish pomposity walks in the streets!
At the Hoboken wharves and the West New York Hills,
over Palisade plumage of rock and the Fort Lee
nest of the eagle – Washington Bridge Riviera “?
doubtful escape on the harlotted Hudson Expressways!
One thing I found in the handcuffs was this:
Great fear of the law!
and a dread
of my own Jersey Cityite’s farce
gone beyond the impossible truss
of a sentence too large
to impress any boy with its complex
I will sign the confession of monsterous crime
I will sign
I will sign
I will sign
I WILL SIGN! ##