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Collected Poems

To a Millionaire

page 63

To a Millionaire

Lord of our world, take off your velvet
mask. Remove your gentle glove, disclose
the claw-like hand, the dried blood under the nails,
the murder print that never shows.

We have spotted your guilt before the final
bloodstained page of our modern super-thriller;
ignoring the views of the bum police detective
we have identified the killer.

We have explored your paradise
in the unpacific ocean, where many drown;
we know the zoology of your coral island;
we have counted the skulls beneath your town.

Tended by tight-lipped servants, muse
on the day the rabble will spit on your polished floor,
yourself forgotten like foul weather, groomed
by the worm, your patient servitor.

There will be little of your estate
after the notary Clay has proved your will;
your assets will melt in the great slump, and time's
invisible violence do you ill.

You have forgotten the diver dead
of a bad heart who groped for your wife's pearls.
Her diamonds shine like water sprinkled on bought
flowers, or the sweat of factory girls.

Your opulent curtains woven of blood
lend a sweet charnel fragrance to your room.
Under your rich carpet are bones buried
that shall speak up at crack of doom.

You cover your pits with grass, ascribe
our broken limbs to Providence; you advise
gentleness and restraint, you counsel prayer,
for when men pray they shut their eyes.
page 64 What is your world but a dark glass
that is thronged with images of its own disruption,
your soul but a facing mirror that reflects back
the accurate pattern of corruption?

Two mirrors in rigid dialectic
display the secular process of your life,
leading through infinite recession to nothingness
yourself, your world of strife.