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

rust-rabid gears,

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