Deep South v.1 n.2 (May, 1995)
Principal Dancers: *A cyanide molecule on the tip of a bullet which has passed through the torso of Marcus Foster, former head of the Oakland, California School District *A piece of said Foster, under study at the Coroner's Office *A Postgrad Inquisitor "Death to the fascist insect that preys on the life of the people!" They said and shot the school superintendent. With cyanide tips. Not that that mattered; Five in the chest--wood would've worked At that rate, and at that caliber It went through too fast to smear any cyanide Molecule-shrubs in his wigwam ribcage. So this is the question: What happens To one of these cyanide molecules? A wholly healthy Literal, deftly revolving molecule of cyanide On the tip of a bullet expressed through a superintendent Of schools? What actually happens, In subatomic terms, at the end of the ride? --When the bullet, still streaming superintendent, Takes a potshard off that pink stucco apartment wall And wakes on the sidewalk, Seeing birdies--no pix of the trip; What does the still virgin cyanide molecule Do, where does she--sorry, "it"--go afterwards? What kind of career can she have? Let us go down Into Lowland, Littleland, Nanoland, Quark forest-- where our dazzling shrub Cyanide twirls Solo, virgin, swirls singing to herself--itself Swirling and singing and all alone. They knock on the door. They say, "Excuse me, we're a few molecules hired by The subcontracter--to make a long story short We're here to bond with you and die In a particular chemoprint, so the lab boys Can tell the press it's you on the bullets. Sorry Ma'am; business." They grope to her Squeaking in rubber suits with NASA patches. They grab for her--She dances on! She doesn't hear them. No--say She hears them And won't react. No--she, they, they Can't touch her, their bottom-quark fingers Can't close on her-- Wait--why "she"? What's that about? I don't know--but if that's what you're getting at, Forget it. I grew up in Berkeley, I was weaned on seminars while you Were getting high to Journey tapes, you poser wimp --You think I survived fifteen years at Berkeley By falling for simple gendered-pronoun traps? She's a genderless fiction, Strictly platonic. So it's just one of those movies about making movies, mere "meta"-stuff. No it isn't! Don't say that! This has a plot-- Which is. . . ? She dances, I don't know the word, French, dances--Black room, white gown-- "Rigadon"-- You stole that from Celine. Yes. So you admit it. Tell me--why Cyanide? Well. That I admit. Yup. I'm a hater. A hater from way back. Nietzsche-- He was right about so much, but He must, he must've been wrong on that, Saying all those bad things about hatred-- So you admit it? Fred--Yo, Fred! Door opens. "Fred" Nietzsche comes in, Gives that surfer hand-sign-- I always thought he'd like me, but he Rips the powerbook out of my hands-- She chuckles, towelling off slowly After dance practice, leaning On the mirrored wall. I can't look But I know she's smiling. I know That smile. He tosses my powerbook Into a corner . . . a corner with spiders. Fyodor, will, perhaps, if Freidrich won't--"Fedya! Fedya, help me, please! Help a Russian soldier!" No answer. No Fedya. No nothing. Laughter. Fred and Freida leave together. She's got A ponytail, he's got A ponytail--No! Spinning White Thornbush, turn for me now! Swirling shrub molecule, turn for me now! Sing solo, uncatalysed, lone on your bright stage, Lone in the Lowlands, Whirl safe, sing genderless, unpronounced molecule-- Exempt, immune to interdiss puns! No barium traces or pop etymology Can touch you, my Precious, my Pentecost flame pet! See? They douse you with pronoun-indictments; You flare the papers in their hands! You wait, await one, one merest touch From one least atom of shot superintendent Twirling down through the thin branches Of Earth's three-stem air! It has not fallen Yet. We wait. We wait. Yes! Now, When all tests have failed, a lab man On his way wifeward, a Livemore man, Knocks a piece of school corpse off the slide And it falls--- It falls-- NOW! NOW she arches up to meet the scrap of deadman descending-- NOW the room bursts and the scientists in their bunker Are burnt up and screaming, suddenly wearing Sunglasses, "wraparound"--wraparound Sunglasses made of burnt face! NOW the papergivers, so clever, so thin-- NOW they are shrieking, Are screaming "It's real!" Testify, brethren! Testifying by shriek, They die into puddles, they dance in their torment, Hair-poodle ponytails melting, on fire-- NOW see her glory--those paintings of Pentecost, flame Riding every sainted head--see how she straddles Each burning ponytail, a sterner Pentecost! --Which when their screams and caperings are done Has melted all the clever From our smoking tenured heads, amen. One can but say, with the SLA, "Death to the fascist insect which preys upon the life of the people."