Liquid waves of concrete heat
stop solar plexus high --
knowing knees, callused feet
keep rhythm as battered wheels
grind gravel and gritted teeth.
Bent and thinned, equinely poised,
the rickshaw stammers empty
with an invisible foreign weight --
strong tightened sun-soaked slits
like greedy huckster eyes,
dart fiercely through chaotic void
in quest of next pedestrian fares.
Far into the cool damp night
the journey never ceases,
speaking to the street --
the constant dream is he is seated,
the jitney pulls itself,
the pilgrimage of every tourist's night
illuminates, becomes his own.
Since there is no help
Come let us kiss and part
-- Michael Drayton
Michael staring, gasping, gnawing life
through drawn gray lids on rat-hot eyes,
scavenges sixteenth century Chelsea way
condemning the hellish space he breathes.
Frantic, frightened, brittle thin legs,
dying twigs in army woolens,
prance steps as light as summer dew
and flit like flies on summer dung.
A deathly deep, purple-pocked skin
bruised by recent damp autumn nights
exhausts its way through gagging fog,
fathoming the lust affair is over -
the sacred love's fetish manuscript
has somehow been misplaced, abandoned.