Mustering What’s Left He’s Been On This Train For Years Abracadabra & away we go into the maelstrom into the flood into the maw of the goat- of-war where bleeders roam the pastures hunting a way out & a way to believe & a way to the wayside where Uncle Charley waits in his Green Hornet disguise & Aunt What’s- Her-Name snaps-up snakes for dinner & never says No to a passing grunt her being a patriot doncha know & here the wheel turns & the whistle blows & Joe with a missing leg & Artie with a missing arm toss the dice to see who goes first & around the bend with shattered knees comes the Black Reaper on his hefty Hog with all those furry fox tails & a blond fox too stroking his neck & whispering in his one good ear & here we go again down the shoot to the end of the street where the whittlers whittle & the shufflers shuffle & buttered rum is the drink of choice & chess is for keeps & here’s Buddy with his perpetual grin ginning-up another cockeyed ruse for fun & games & burning the candle at both ends one in his ear & the other up his ass & away we ride to the show of shows & one for one & one for all & no one the wiser & no one to blame. It is what it is . . . doncha know. recruiting assassins from the ranks of the terminally ill, enduring the nightmare of the naked man who enters with a butcher knife & will not leave, dreams of seductions that will never be — while time raced past on the back of a tiger. Some nights he remembers where & why & even what he wore: It was Tucumcari, Fire & Ice, a black leather jock. In the light of day, he tries to forget those early years: There was always cocaine & gin, sodomy & Ruthie’s ruptured eyes. There was father’s war, mother’s acquiescence & random acts of violence: the razor under the porch, brass knuckles & shattered glass. There was the dancer in red, around her shoulders & down one arm a shimmering boa weaving, with every gesture, every flourish, every twist & turn would flick its tongue to taste his cheek. There were casual sightings of wives & dead babies, an enraged elephant & out of the mist his hobbled shadow. He’d once intended stalking the unsuspecting, enticing them to his rooms where he kept the cages. When he thought of going home, starting over & making amends, the twitching would begin & bleeding from the rectum. There’s little hope for retribution, his strength gave out years before — seventy three hundred days & still no peace.