Sun is Very Near Hot and Buttockslike

dreaming, I accompany a pharmacist named Harward–
who wants to fill a prescription–
to the Needles Pharmacy/Mortuary
a shadowy warehouse with a counter dividing the customer space from shelves
and the obscure room behind them where bodies are laid out.
People are who come by often ask, "Who's on ice in the back?"
It will be I or me or one, of course, or "Soul is it Soul?" does Soul die?
Harward is curous about, peers into, the back room
Is the Soul just a notion, a drug?

Here, in another dream, is a white
bridge from nowhere to nowhere, a lyre-like
ramp a raised graphlike line, supported by stringlike spars
gradually up, gradually down...'Oh Honey don't let me
walk down that poet-like staircase into the sea!"
At the bottom in shallow water is a body the death mask
of a man, a poet, the poet still a man. I won't care them
or will I, detective or soul. Soul cares for.


I've now
named the detective Hardwood.


in the "real," in the métro
a man scrambles charmingly
for five francs      a busker
has lost his francs he slides under seat
pops up before people unexpectedly
he dropped it somewhere collecting coins
after his guitar performance, which I missed.
He has a female assistant.
I exit into hot empty–
no one even at–Concorde
I'm a poet so I go buy a book.


Caves. Enter the room with the writing on the wall
sometimes all the people are there and not up above "in life"
they crowd round me while I examine the letters
"ELF the gasman pleasantly wants your world."

I enter a further room. I look so young
an owl–symbol of a certain dead soldier–
has come to scourge me for my untroubled appearance
lines sink immediately into my face and this is I...
the detective, will he like
such an aging soul's face?


Descend farther into a lower room
several of us sit on the floor, women in shrouds or serapes
and the white sulphurous owl not corny is there.
We sense the fire, the sickening smell of war–
"When you stab a man to death there's a terrible smell!"–
all over the real world while the soul tries to claim itself.

All the detectives take drugs–Chirac, write your own
prescription and fill it

if Hardwood's more sensitive than you, a sweet guy
with a carved wooden gun
or bronze one with silver trimmings
a soulful gun, should I stand by him?

What would you have done in World War II they always say,
as if the past solved anything, rather than caused it.


Later dreaming pleasantly that I was that dead poet
asleep and dreaming.

Still later,
in cave:

Touch carved E finger bleeds.

Then, outside the cave, I hurry alongside a vaporous lake.
Dante, a cartoon Dante is here, in Dante clothes
face featureless.

How large to have a white dead face like
the moon and hover above others. Oh help me
No you don't need help

Who did I ask who answered it wasn't Dante.

Don't, don't be Dante. But don't, don't be an E.


Each poem quivers as I do and then flows forwards