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Schindler's Fist (For Ira Cohen)

Schindler is dead
The Yankee Clipper is dead
Along with his fabled slugger's cock
His childlike scrawl and Mafia slush funds
His gift-wrapped showgirls
And several close friends
Of Omar Mohammed

The names on the list are gilded splinters
Blips and ribbons
Of the latest war news
Dynaflow hearts lost at the movies
Dissenting voices with dazzling wings
Driving at our doors and windows
Chilling threats
And random acts of largess
Mixed emotions of wealth and waste
That echo in the tireless gloom
Of uncounted sleepers
Suspicious mail
That seems wrapped in dew

Flames of memory tear at our pillows
Like the deep, black sighs
Of slag-snorting demons
Now that they've gone
(The plumbers, the moles, the street allies
and spectral agents)
We can conjure them
By the names we gave them

Captain Trips is dead
Mr. Coffee is dead
And Schindler has died
With a pen in his fist
And his first gold florin
Under his tongue

Here in the dark
While salvage eyes keep watch
For phantoms
Only the tears and weeds are real
The makeshift shrines and roadside praying
In the city's cold
Nocturnal glow

Alone on the sky, out of harm's way
With all the graceful form
And nimble gain of acrobat-clowns
Beautiful storks with battle-clawed stockings
Graze in the squalor
Of an empty room

Where our towers once stood
There is only silence
And the music of steamtrains
Doublecrossing the stars

Lights are low
Wheeling and hovering like skrimshaw saints
Talking tough in camouflage
Mastering the thin Autumn breeze
Pleased just to be living
To breathe day to day

A thin moon moans
As it rides in the clouds
Like a scarab
In a housecat's ear
That can buy no safety or sympathy
Just one more chance
Just one last scrap
Of another nightmare
Streaking through the Afghan night
Striking very close
To the seat of power

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