The Tawdry Essence of the Thing

The tawdry essence of the thing
Is baptised in the fire of thought,
The polished chamber, and the strain
Of squeaky voices in the crock

Astir with soupy catalepsis:
As dirty follow soggy speeches,
You wonder if you’ve missed a reference.
But just as conscience blurts reproaches—

Ta-ting! Thirteen re-bells the clock!
Now, once the cabs have got their fares,
The deadly bores will go to pot
And snuggle with their stevedores.

I left them there to slightly snore,
And rode an almost mouse to Nice.
I sang a Kaddish on a pyre
And told the corpse to pretty-please

Roast up in time—the morning sun
Is not indulgent of these prayers.
But like a rooster’s bloody shin,
Its charcoal belly loosed its pores

And rain clouds shelved the morrow day—
The day the pigeons fell all in,
And whispered speeches held the door
Agape for bald and shameful men.