Sashay to the boardwalk, scurry to the ditch
Just another future song, lonely little kitsch
– David Bowie
The nightmare was neither bad television,
nor kitsch. Whatever it was struck home
light years away. Something blurrily animal, lissomely human,
blurrily moving, a semblance, a leprechaun,
spidered a hush hush mystery screen
too swiftly to pinpoint the family of man’s shadow.
The imagery was archetypal before it was born
on an ancient tree, and the cradle broken
shattering the old limb. A Tree of Knowledge –
Yggdrasil, man’s tree of family and faith, ablaze,
ashing, ashing the route to satellite wonders.
Or were we broadcasting ourselves?
We watched in dumbstruck lassitude,
like couch potato marionettes
shoulder to shoulder, locked knees,
mouths puckering up-down, open and shut.
Which way was the root? Whither the star trail?
— switch stations, and Sybil’s leaves respelled the fable.
We returned to catch the last theatrical
curtains flying up. Forgive us please stunned expressions –
forgive us silent prayers, rickety
stiffness of trolls on an old geezer’s shelf
who thought we trembled given a pair of loose nails
straining the racks.
We burnt like wood. Firewood.
Pinewood. Redwood. Cedar conflagrations
seared ourselves to our skins. Matchstick trees
hung on lean strings of bark and vein
together. The shock so ironic, so homely, so
astral. Picking up a cup, the cabinet cups,
we said thank you, please, and lay the saucer down
with the caution of house domestics; forgive us the
love less love than a skittish
theatre of strained affections.
Color of scalding. Pink flesh of kindling.
Toothpicks, shaved saplings, teeth
to a forestry nova.