The Bridegroom

Wearing a crown of flies
The bridegroom cometh shuffling on his yams.
Brain cancelled with an overdose
He was the intended of Hypatia waiting in a ThorazineŽ cloister
A Graceland meted from the Nautilus's chambers
Manhattan State Hospital.

Pigeons warming underbodies on the gravel
A wink of rain in the sequestered sunshine
Green fishpond covered with scattered rings
The subject has difficulty translating a visual associate
He has already definitely labelled a person or object by means of his own
But he has forgotten

Thus a name whose own private processes of recognition are complete
The Triborough Bridge and his soul tries to ascend
Tries to get out, hammers on the inside of his wide-open corneas
Like a bird at a window

But this is a conspiracy of foolish virgins
The hole after a demolished building
An exhalation of New World moulds
From a badly mildewed trousseau
And the indescribable layette.

Kevin fat and straw-hatted that time
On the escalator at Journal Square.
My Dad seems perfectly clear to me now
I want to cry and comfort him
Put my hand on the shoulder of the apparition
No flesh no blood no skin no bones.

Rockaway doggie standing in the suds
Watching the great silver ducks taking off
One every sixty seconds, say,
The gracefulness of their jet exhausts
On a wind-mild day with a high surf
As they fan out one every sixty seconds,
Grooving the mathematics of tails.
I see by your clothesline
That you are a homeless doggie.
Handsome dog
Irish setter and golden retriever
Let this mutt pat your beautiful coat
Sometime waggle pooch
Clean and sea-smelling.
Sea doggie - you could be
Groomsman and together we could
Maybe find some steaks.

Morning flash of train windows on the Williamsburgh Bridge
Panhandling on Kenmare Street another subway token
Oh Dad it's the orange blossom special.

He has lingered with the catcall sirens on Mermaid Avenue
Cut a figure on the slanting deck in the Gowanus Canal
In the cloudburst seen the writing on the Con Edison gas tank
And in his furnace thirst sat in a wrecked convertible
Under the Shore Parkway overpass and drunk
The tetraethyl runoff from the roadway above

By the siding of dead D trains
Found shelter in an old wooden truck body
Heard the cops' wisecracks from smoke-break prowl cars
In the perpendicular rain shivered all night
On a pile of greasy rags with tires and lube drums
The inhabitant of the shrine.

Style which we analyzed in the introductory section
In the sunny morn another Cropsey Avenue high-stepper.
He sits down on a bench a view of the sea a sea breeze
And to cheer himself watches the families,
Children, men playing boccie
Until he is shooed away by the Good Humor man

And clutching his pants about his bony pelvis
Hustles away leaving a trail of petals
Cars on the parkway and joggers on the promenade
In the September afternoon he stretches out in the grass.

In the nave of the river, Oh, cool bells reverberating!
Weedy buttresses of drowned palisades cool tolling
Deep plainsong down from the steep sheds of America
Chasuble-turbulent alb-deep Hudson
Ship-icons shouldered to the sacristy of the tide.
River, oh reverberate.

At a vesper dirged by the electronic chimes
On the U.S. Army Chaplains School he goes down to his goal
A section of the railing ajar as if torpedoed by a car
The Open Gate communicated in a foetid whisper
Ye have led him away to consummate on the stones.

Leaving his shoes on the slimy stones he wades out
Gravesend Bay cool to his destroyed feet
And treads water until with his last strength
Tries to shout, coughs underwater.
The lights go on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

Backtrack again and pick up the stars we have unravelled
Shepherd whales on the heels of the mother fire
Git-along dogie at the railhead of tidal currents
Temperature, salinity, the world trade of molecular osmosis
The sweet and soft lips and hair
Nuptial estuary.

Kenneth Tindall

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