Friday, December 14, 2007

Red Door


The blazing orb dove
into the ocean
like a great fiery waterbird,
and orange-crimson crests
rolled hard against miles
of white Malibu beach.

Summer dusk settled
on Santa Monica,
and the girls squealing
on the ferris wheel
at Pacific Ocean Park
did not hear
the soft footsteps
in the deep sand,
did not see
a solitary figure strolling
the emptiness
of beach beneath the pier;
watching the dark surf
hammer the earth.

He was just a shadow
within the shadow
of a squat red building.
He touched its bricks,
rubbing the grime off
a basement window pane.

He was a creature
of introspection,
a traveler who journeyed
his MaryJaneAlice craft churning
through the red canals,
halting only to lick
the pink pulp off his eyeballs,
as another Naval ship
glided out toward the horizon
like a gray phantom
with its precious cargo
of cannon fodder.

He had already seen
the mystic side
of that huge flat water,
had mortars for breakfast,
swished the hordes of flies
from severed heads
stuck firmly on bamboo stakes,
with their testicles crammed
in their dead mouths,
lips sewed up
with green vine.

These memories
added adobecoral
to his shell,
and he kept seeking
more fuel
for the cold furnace
his heart had become,
and some kind of substance,
any kind of substance
for the void
sticking his head
into the darkness,
chasing the black-hooded monks
who had no faces,
wandering in the fog.

the purple scars of war
do not fade easily,
and shrapnel does not
of itself,
and neither the soft California nights,
nor the medicine from Mexico,
could ease the terrible ache
in him.

So try
to come down,
young man,
come down for Christ's sake;
even though you can't,
for there are brown planks
over the brick window arches,
and For Lease signs
on the doors.

The heroin ghosts
rule over emptiness.
No one stands now
on that rodiron trussed balcony
and stares out at the sea,
eating peanut butter sandwiches
and holding a comrade's hand

The reception room
receives nobody,
the auditorium is silent.
Straight backed wooden chairs are piled
like driftwood in the corners.

you three story red bastard building;
your strong arms
are not longer open.

Oh my God,
Synanon is dead.

Glenn Buttkus 1968

No comments: