Bernard Page 4
of gilded boys with starving men,
under blind stars and a blinding sun,
a fool's moon and a shilled heaven of clouds,
the pinwheel Shivas of hurricanes
and flycone whirlwinds, the tornadoes of the plains

It comes,
devious, with feints and false promises,
with more sleights of hand than a carnival magician,
full of drama and lies, murderous and coy,
taking one and another around you, but always
      sparing you,
filling you with hopefulness and that strange delight
the living know when faced with the dead:
"Not me, not yet," we think, giddy with joy

Endless are the epics it tells you:

Hollywood does death dances for you,
to give you that drunken happiness,
never more marvelous than when faced with death,
the shameless intoxication of being alive.

You walk down a street you have known for years,
on the way to a store, to see a friend,
to run an errand you should have done weeks ago,
and someone you don't know but vaguely recognize
walks up to you
and puts his hand into your brain.
As the darkness seeps
out of his eyes
into your own,
you remember him:
a little younger, slimmer, sleeker,
with fewer gray hairs and fewer lines,
otherwise the spitting image