To the Artist's Page To our home page
To T. S. Ross's previous piece To T. S. Ross's next piece
American Smelting And Refining Company At ASARCO we played with the Dragon. Making our way across sand, slag, and stones, To the drainage dragon cave, cliff-face huge, To the reptilian cloacal abyss. Climbed down the steep cliff, inched along the lip Stepped across mountain-ridge steep angle-tip Blasted out of our minds, we crossed the entry Way-Gate with an Escherian flip Inner ears protesting, said, Welcome To Hell, down, in the deep deep dark shadows. Half sliding, debouched in the L-shaped cave, Scramble, the sussuration of bellows Guide our guests to where the land is a grave Walls close in, darkness breathes. As Orpheus Leads Eurydike , gathering black Till the bend, light comes, low and sulpherous Forbidden, we forbid all looking back, Wend the way to the Gate of Tartarus, This industrial dragon's lair, ASARCO, To chilled first glimpse of this man-made Hades, Out the back-gate, our checkpoint Alpo, Watching for Shelob, or the Satanic Cerberus, the dreaded Security. Virgins lead forth by the cid-head herder The Dragon stretched before us, moldering Mechanical monster of a murdered Land, our personal magical Mordor, In the shrouded shadow of Golgotha, The Night-forgotten Mont Cristo del Rey, Wary of dogs, awed by Juggernaut Fearful from hobbit as freshly dead souls, We crept over slag to unhallowed ground Gruesome, desolate, this barren set is Truly worthy of Frankenstein Unbound There ASARCO lives, breathes, and even eats. The Dragon had killed, a oft deadly-beast. First traces that showed depended on chance. Three hoboes sleeping were laid to rest when So it seems, we could see the Dragon dance At a site hideous and unshriven Where the dragon might show itself, and stir. "Beep-Beep-Beep" as truck backed to edge of pit, Halted, dripped detritus of the Refining Fire, Slow flow of molten slag, luminescent, Glowing, Tumbling, half-congealing jelly Falling down to Sheol, the open grave bed To the Dragon-kill pit, long ago horror, Deep down in Sheol, the open grave-bed The Dragon crapped, as we had seen. "Beep-Beep" Went the truck's warning. Down flowed the doom On the hapless tramps. To this day, one sees The molded outline of their bodies, but The bodies were burned to ash. Carbonized. Rumor says one of them at last awoke, For the mold showed his puzzled expression At point Bravo, the Orange fire descended Through the deadly fumes, across the ruined land Marching, approach to the Dragon's secret Treasure. The Dragon killed, preened itself, curled Talons around the bone-yard, some rough beast Slouching. A half-hill hid devastation, Death-seeded, from the oblivious cars Speeding along I-10, on their side a hill Curtained the view. on our side, the Dragon, Crouched, killed, feed, shit behind sheer carved cliff-wall You see, once the people, the workers, the slaves, Lived on site, a village called Smeltertown. One by one, two by two, four by four, more And more, family by family died, Coughing the black-blood from their lungs until They could cough no more, they died. None knew why But we know now. Uneasy the dead did rest For the Dragon had killed, slow consumption, Kept the bones as a token of triumph In the old Smeltertown cemetery, Hidden by the scarred sepulchral half-hill.
To the top of this page