(I was a busker briefly in London back in 1975, playing con geat in the Tube while I awaited my chance to interview with the Stones.)
from Ancient Light
He lay in the tube tunnel just off Hyde Park,
not far from Mayfair, the American Embassy.
Under a pyramid of cardboard was he,
his Irish accent – Belfast maybe? – larking
everything abowt Lundun. Face invisible,
only his arm waved – giving directions
to a tribe of booty'd Scandinavians.
Your king in disguise – a buskin' Sybil.
Back in the hometown, down Morris Avenue,
above the serene and perfect golden sphere
of Temple Emmanuel, echoed in the atmosphere,
the planets – lined up for an evening view,
one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. . .
I could see them, bright against the azure;
a heavenly anomaly, that would endure
no more than a dusk or two. Orion,
keep your eye on those British loins;
even the King of Cats is still a Pushkin,
ready to vaporize in the wink of a sun.
London's eccentric orbit's like a loon's –
now you here, him echo over there;
her echo. And if you bend over too fast,
like Raleigh over a puddle, you won't last;
you'll get distortions coming up for air,
like the groan of that doubledeckering by,
overloaded with oversize Van der Weyden portraits
– I mean average overage Renaissance pates –
(each one different) under the Flemish snowsky.
You want to look at yourself in the mirror
again, Henry? Before you step outside
and lose yourself in a Bruegel snowslide –
where bent kids are chalking the proverbial Bronx cheer. . .
Temple Emanu-El, Providence