Bram Stoker dined on crab once, late at night,
and so he dreamed. Of what? The plant that needs
no sunlight, needs no stem, whose leaves are white,
its petals opening in blue transparency.
He, naked, garbed himself in milk-white orchids,
and rolled in the troubled oriental bed,
out of earshot of his spouse’s scoldings,
her curtain lectures and her closet dramas.
Here, Mr. Pym, is the twister made of flame,
the one you loved, the fanged machines
that grind the balance of perpetual motion.
Did you turn the hand-crank, the crank
of fanged flowers, the head-crank, opiate,
amphibious mystery plays that end in thieves
coming down from the cross? What you altered
in the night remains the same in daytime,
and day to day the changes leave
a kind of ghost like gas of gutta-percha.
Look, I have left the Dutch town of Vondervotteimittiss,
whose gothic structures antedate the mandrake.
I return to the ruined city of my youth
where I might ride a manipede along the green-path.
I might see the radiant furnaces, the yachts
that appeal to your sense of indignation,
the slanted greenway to your sense of loss.
You have said a word that cuts like a radical toy,
something topical, how one who passed
in yellow glasses waved hello. I think
I know what I’m saying. We will all
come together though not, it seems, in the way
that we once hoped. Shall I, a man
half metal, a man of metal, a half man,
a firebug and mountebank, a fire-eater
and a salamander crush the wild berries
to my lips, lie sleeping there amidst
revolving marvels? We were withholding
the boxes of our native earth from one another,
while time, the Great Determiner, its aviary clocks,
the Great Delimiter, the Man of Sure Ruin,
decided great decisions for us, or ones
that at the time seemed so. And you
were a word-search, in a role-playing game
in which you played the role of words.