He...cometh up in the form of an old fair Man,
riding upon a Crocodile, carrying a Goshawk upon his fist,
and yet mild in appearance.
He maketh them to run that stand still, and bringeth back runaways.
He teaches all Languages or Tongues presently.
He hath power also to destroy Dignities both Spiritual and Temporal,
and causeth Earthquakes. He was of the Order of Virtues.
Old men and memory
runaways and deserters
what good these nobles of hell
Say it is a memory house.
The crocodile is the sewer
where we crawled into the hill
listening for rising water
the great dusty room under the levy
the dim sunlight streaming in a single shaft
the fear and panic of the lower brain
on his fist,
the hawks that circled in the thermal air
in the river-valley bowl
the hilltop above the trainyards
where the names of the dead are spraypainted
one atop the other
where the ashes of old fires
shelter under the overcropping rock
where the wind bites clear of breath
Who then, the old man?
Is it Moon, arguing with the angels
his hands jammed in his pockets
or spread out, gingerly
on a pawnshop piano?
His head filled with purple?
greyer each day
each day closer to my own private dark
these are the tongues I teach.
these are the runaways I return
those run down into the dark beneath the hill
those names painted where the hawks circle
this is the earth I shake.