With a violent declaration of his presence he plunged
around the heavy door and entered,
in his own large breeze his coattails flapped,
and from them, tremendously, he felt,
“I’ve just come from somewhere!” enough to shake the
silence in the apathetic bar.
But didn’t and he headlonged into,
“And what I did there–!” eyes that flashed nobility they
did not know they had not earned.
No one turned.
He gave them challenge with a dexterous twirl of perky
he knew that he was all he needed to be proud,
suppley lank and all accomplished out,
with careful velvet furrows in his garden-scented thick
he’d bathed and dressed his ankles in some purloined stretch-socks,
had glint of modern metal in his Dacron suit, his mohair
shirt was real.
And strong black boots kissed toes of steel.
Black-strapped boots which said, “Here am I, you better
stay and watch me go,
for I go anywhere worth the going,
though there’s nowhere worth the going.”
Knowing so much he took an easy stand and drank a
beer to make his wait seem short,
taut elation sparkled on his eyes,
for he had come through heaving rain, made reflections,
leapt a drain, been asked directions.
Watching nonchalantly through the window he felt
contamination from within,
as though his belly were a sieve
in which began to sag and drop
his borrowed filigree of stature, compelling him to
show contempt of all, derisive
in a grimace he had studied long,
staring in a mirror, avoiding telltale entrails on his skin,
He did this now.
For he had come to be a Master of the curling lip and
a very Master of the fast dissolve and lie,
a Master of all non-involvement; on his score
lay credits he alone had won, for none had ever asked
him to be great,
he knew, to them, his birth had only been a nuisance,
and yet he’d set himself to be his Master, had pushed
He was all he needed to be proud. He said.
He flicked an ash and drank his beer and in his eyes
appeared the effort of his poise.
His scorn went swarming through the bar,
and when he thought they feared him, half,
he contrived, and gave, a silent laugh, followed by a
wholly unexpected snort,
a loud and adenoid, membrane noise,
a sniff of self-assertion which only gave the salient
clams away; for this he burned.
And in a moment, to his dense confusion, he let loose
this vulgar snort again.
It raised the corners of his lips, he looked as though he sobbed,
it even raised the padded shoulders of his coat.
But none had moved to see his fall, his gall and his disaster,
the knowing he had cared that he be seen.
He knew this caring was his only, and he hoped a passing, sin.
He did not know the word salvation, nor did he know
that Self, his secret, proud and able twin,
had never been. Good God boy.