The Crow Is Dismantled in Flight
The Manager attends only the finest regattas.
It was there he saw her in sweet suspension,
arch nubile, insidious as breath upon his ear.
A small woman wearing a sheathe of dark
feathers and carrying a lantern by her side.
He waited at night to follow her down to the Bay.
The faint light bobbing on the wooden stairs,
across their legs and the shades between.
The gondolas scraping on stone docks.
Unseen birds screeching overhead
against the Dome's impenetrable shield.
Dismantled in Flight
The wings are lopped off first.
Fluttering down like sheaves of burnt paper.
The torso's trajectory declines.
Its velocity lessens until it impacts
on the facade of a building,
one more flak snack for the drones.
The severed head plummets like stone.
Bird dreams and human dreams lodged in its
feather shiny cranium are dissipated
with largess on the glideways.
Pull, the Manager cries. Another black avian
is levered and snapped into the air.
Ultrasonics tracking for the kill.
Sweltering Beneath the Dome
She strips off her clothes. Thankfully.
For the air has malfunctioned again.
She lies upon the bed without covers,
damp and indifferent in the dense night.
She feels the weight of the floors above
and the mute thrust of the floors below,
and while she sleeps without knowing it,
suffering dreams she will not remember,
the paintings that line the walls change
color a single brushstroke at a time,
acrylic droplets sprouting like fungi
on the rough terrain of each canvas.
Abstracts changing abstraction
in the concrete actions of her life.
Not an Idiom
The Manager eats crow. This is not an idiom.
The bird is crucified on the altar of his table,
geometrically perfect in the symmetry of night,
a delicacy prepared by the rarest of chefs.
Lean gray meat transformed to succulent white,
marinated with capers and balsamic vinaigrette,
grilled upon a blue flame until it sizzles,
served with saffron and sweet bell peppers.
Add an indifferent table red and he is sated.
No gourmet but a man dear to the flesh of things,
the Manager loves to glut the sum of his senses.
A gamy residue clings to his sedentary palate,
an incarnation that leaves him wanting.
In the reaches of the arcology,
where compressors circulate
the stale air to a semblance
of forest and field,
beneath the translucent panels
of the Dome where light
resembles the dust of day,
among a spidered intimacy of struts
and pylons that must carry
the weight of heaven,
the crow is reconstituted by the
emblems of its own imagination,
a regalia thick with time.
Wings, head, torso click together
with a sound mechanical
in precision and sickeningly
organic in its osculation.
When the Dome darkens and stars
blur on gradations of gray,
the raven stretches its wings
upon the arms of light.
An omnivorous fowl so feather glisten,
so sheer in its blackness,
so alive in feral ostentation,
the Manager cries out in his sleep.
The arcology gathers its dust and debris,
the discarded cells of a static population.
She claims insomnia in the regimental morn.
If only it weren't so warm under the Dome
with the pressure of worlds below and beyond.
If she were more than a symbolic construct
parsed for a late evening's entertainment.
If space would open like a gravfree dropshaft
to cooler climes and cleaner resurrections
draped in plumage other than her own.
If only she were the raven in imperious flight,
like an emperor of old with thumb decision.
What the Manager Saw
Shores frequented by crustaceans
vicious in their bite.
The notes of a twelve-tone etude
like bones on a cutting board.
Salt and lime and winedark hair.
The wrinkled lips of lost goddesses
whispering their shame.
A dinner jacket made from telephones.
Her common beauty compelling him in its folds.
Monoliths with tuberous extensions.
Sky panes falling in crystal explosion.
A yellow claw leaving furrows in flesh.
Blind tracks. Dyslexic scribbles.
In the loudscape of the rush that swings
from time up to time idle,
a moment of dream sanity snuffed by incision.
Appeared as an ebroadside, Minature Sun Press, 2003