Umbratilis: At Formia
Your scant dyspeptic rot outlasted
Your cell, barely, your body only just:
Less than a week. You died a Roman
In Pater’s sense: hieratic
Beauty & order in the conduct of life,
A body not to be outdone—
Gout—Insomnia—but who can count
The dogs & days of solitary?
Your teeth fell out—tick, tock,—
Your headache bled against the cinder-block
Eviscerating loneliness in pain
& pain in loneliness again.
Julia was unwell. Tatiana’s unctions were
Miserably bright in the unredeemed
Eons of your luxuriating horror;
No doubt the name rang out
(But this I forcibly interject:
The love-song that I could not write)
Often in your cell: Antonio, you
Alas are not the first to, at peril, show
Us something real, dead right.
Your tragedy: your fate. Your triumph
What we learned from you & didn’t learn.
Bruno, Malcolm, Herman
Wallace with their ethic strong as Capital:
Luckier to burn out quick.
Mumia has your strength & maybe more;
Chelsea, I worry for;
Leonard Peltier is on Death’s door:
It is time for analysis, for logistics
The prisons here are full & you were right
Correcting Bini’s oversight:
‘So finely-wrought a file it destroys
Thought utterly; transforms the latent God
In the seasoned olive wood
To a handle for a cobbler’s awl’—
But for this prying lexicon that in part negates
The tautologies of the State
& the rudimentary Fordism of all
Our employ now; but for this
Pediment of a tradition; & for this
Surreptitious too late beginning.
Place this: idea of a Casino, set
Brightly in Lakes, among County Roads
O Minnesota rustic & so great I had not thought
You capable of owning this confluity:
One burned long & vigilant, songfully;
The other, perhaps, more certain
Of the wrong & right of it
Was scared & skived for days: he could not see.
They gambled. They gamboled:
But accustomed play & the game
Would out. They walked their dogs
Who, sour, agreed to make the most of things.
Mosquitoes kill us, more than fags or booze
We said as we lay among them, shamelessly.
& then the booze ran out. We hit the road.
This was our sequel. The neon snaked
As the drink caught on. The band
Was dreadful, with no option but to attend,
Until we lost or changed the game.
I cut now to the chase: Moorehead police
Would not permit a fifteen-mile highway stroll,
Bless! We were united for the last time
On their watch, while they confabulated, ate.
I now have two ideas of wrath: one
Grows out of Burns, the other is this half hour
In our rented car. Was there music?
Did the median lines float from side to side
As I recall? Our Casino calls me now
Gaudy promise & flash & the sureness
hit. The miss.