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Amoeba, My City
It's a selfish business, being a city, an amoeba bulging at the boundaries,
narrow where orifices lick fulsome tides. It protrudes fat lips to bite
hard scree of the Palisades, chews up Sneden's Landing, paints tugs with a
thousand curious villi. What lives in its shifting form accepts the island's flux.
Planes come and go, disgorging lives that indifferently cohere. Women bathe their
children in the shallows before sunning tropical legs. An amoeba in a droplet fans
into an island, untidy form. The microscope remarks a secret shell.
In the waste, the sparkling Hudson feeds tugs through the locks at Troy,
Collar City; in the body's moist places, it enters and feeds. Every death a brief
eternity, a duple split, poisonous through the skin. The osmotic city: one.
©Aldo Vigliarolo: Shostakovich
If green is the hue of uneasiness,
how supremely half-cocked is his joy.
He bows toward the nebulous light.
If it rains, blessed is he who can bless.
If it clears, he'll pull onions from the dirt.
Wind blows through the sockets of his eyes.
Other arms reach out for the man in the sky
while the fiddler keens to his tune.
[One image is superimposed on another.
Before the war/ After the war
never enough to eat.]
How dreadful to be a joy-bringer;
Heaven's stones are his blood bema
thick with interstitial channels of moss.
His shoes don't match. Call him Harlequin.
But his heart beneath the wet plum coat
is his heart.
In the square, it is always half past five,
and the village sits waiting to be fed.
Once, he could have eaten bricks,
have fractured his jaw,
fed three fingers to the wild dogs.
Broken meats, braided bread.
Some assumptions are forced on one
who cannot boldly
parachute from history.
Three suits of black.
Behind the kitchen door,
beef grizzles in the iron pot.
No one knew how a bone pile grew.
The House in Plauen
Meanwhile, he dies and the house in Plauen
smolders under friendly fire. The city, pantry
for materiel and jam, hungers to be bombed.
Executions swift and efficacious--
the Rent-a-Jew program will be needful
so the kids can say they've met a live one.
Gruss Gott means hello and farewell.
Narrow river crossing between that day and this,
a deckled book of finders keepers--
don't pick up the pen--salvage your name.
Barren hours; the ravens know it,
and hens that will not lay, not because of tomatoes
since the scraggly bushes will not bear.
All depends on eggs, boiled, cooked in ash,
wrapped up in a coat pocket, tying up the guts.
Meaty in the woods, eaten without torchlight,
sauced with erntedank. * Cook some up with stones.
If the hens do not lay, lick the stones.
Let's see--brother and sister, a cruel folk tale.
What a terrible thirst the boy endures,
warned off by each brook, threatened with
the loss of his simple human form.
Dreams the garden of that house for sixty years;
in dreams does the sister marry a king.
And the roebuck, even with his collar of gold chain,
will always be a roebuck. It can only be weeks
before the hunters chase him through the woods again,
greedy for his horns, his perfect tawny hide.
Come into the house in Plauen. First its floor was moss.
Then hard-packed earth. Then mortar shells.
Now, moss again.