Sunday, July 12, 2009

Oscar Williams



Who is it runs through the many-storied mansion of myth
With the exaggerated child's-head among pillars and palings,
Holding in his grip the balloons of innumerable windows
And chased by the flowing malevolent army of the ceiling?

It is the dwarf, the yellow dwarf, with the minted cheeks,
With the roots of the fingers, with the wafer-thin cry,
In a maze of walls, lost in the nurseries of definition--
Shadows dance on shins of trumpets in a waning sky.

Voices are wired in the walls, rats are gnawing rumors,
The throat of music is bursting with the leadpipes of lust,
And the giant's face on the dwarf's shoulders is frightened
As the battle sounds strike the panes from the near-by past.

The pillars in the palace are reclining about like pistons:
The horses of parenthesis have run away into the woods:
The king is caught on the vast flypaper of the people:
There are holes as big as hovels in the wall of platitude.

The queen is ill from planting the garden with progeny
And her eyes are crossed off by vicious marks from her face:
She telephones the dwarf who puts his head in the instrument
To find his features come out in glacial coal-bins of space.

The orgasms of distant guns attack at the lustful curtains
And soldiers are standing about in historical knots of lies
Warming frozen tag-ends of lives around the spontaneous
Combustion of bosses who are stoking hollows of hired eyes.

The swine bulge in the snake bellies of the telegraph wires
And bellow under flat clouds of ceilings in the interior;
Communication swallows the quicksilver swords of distance;
Headlines perform, in squadrons of plumes, on the warriors.

But the draughty palace of fable is full of feeble splendor:
The yellow dwarf now in possession of knowing documents
Runs after the newspapers cackling on the edge of freedom--
The golden cupboards tremble for the aging sentiments.

The music of battlefields exhilarates the hidden overhead
And injects into the air a breakdown sense of release,
And the numerals wriggle off the lock boxes of the world
Unloosing a swarm of the venomous vultures of peace.

But the dwarf, the yellow dwarf, with sunspots for eyes
Is hunting in the archives in the moth holes in the palace,
And he tightens the torture boot around the spinal column,
The steel twilight gleaming with the sweat of his malice.


Now that the battle is on, keep off the palace grounds,
You can hear the dwarf rummaging in the elephant inside:
It's better to draw a curtain of birds around your eyes--
Fall into the picture book under the thumb of a landslide--

Than to come upon spiders eating the iris of the eyeball,
Glimpse the yellow dwarf digesting the members of princes,
Or see famous paintings loll, like tongues, from their frames
Into a roomful of heroes pretending to harass pretenses.

The sagging structure propped between thought and thinker,
The gilded lawns flow on under the smokescreen of the laws:
The allover attaack of a decaying body infiltrates the atom,
Even the beast in the violin hangs out with lopped-off paws.

Run! run into the first thicket of verbs, the nest of deeds!
Place a skyline between yourself and the grandiose emblem!
For the inquisition wears the hypocritical jowls of a palace,
There's nothing here to salvage, and yours is another problem.

--Oscar Williams

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