The Super squats in the under-dark
tumble of the city-sick Royal Arms flop.
No rock-a-bye crooner, this
scabrous old harlot, worn red
tongue teasing the curb,
dull marquee twisted and drunkenly
listing, dusted with neon and soot.
Down in the gut works
the Super creeps, grease fattened,
beer perfumed, grizzled and inked –
serpentine dragons and bare-breasted
women caress his rhinoceros skin.
He puffs like a kettle
in time with the boiler clank,
pipe-tick and steam release,
hissing machinery – heart
like a slaughterhouse beef.
Left hand a wrench,
right hand a bottle,
soul caught and mangled by
he ratchets and bludgeons
the verdigris tangle of
the Royal Arms’ labyrinthine bowels.
Here below street life,
beneath all the sweet life,
away in the muggy hot dark
thump the sad engines
he cossets and curses –
ranting, cajoling the parts
that he nurses, breathing
cinder thick air.
Coal belching furnaces
quicken the shadows with
red light in sulphurous blasts.
A force of endurance, the Super
keeps current the weldings that
hold it all fast.
e.yon/2002/Fruit & Bones chapbook