by Matthew Caley

Apparently born of a hinny and her ass

he hee-haws awesomely: of the little words and letters

like ‘A’ and ‘and’ and ‘as’, and yet – alas, alack­ –

never saw the major work complete; of sawhorses

strung with lanterns in a Brooklyn

Street – wherein two ‘A’s made the ‘M’ of the Latin word ‘manes’

and therein made their manes; inverted they made ‘W’ for ‘Will’ – The Bard

[he pondered, exclusively on his Bottom]; of the city that never sleeps

– of whom another dared to think a geodesic dome, a la mode,


over New York like an atmosphere solidified –

that never sleeps except for the zed-zed-zeds of the fire-escapes;

of barely scraping his room and board

to light the low gas-flame or the ‘live flame

of tradition’ wherein they brook no line

that doesn’t sing as such: ‘If seahorses

could but sing Offenbach, Father’ – alas-alack­ –

of a man who for forty-six years watered a single letter, yet was

left with nothing but the odour of odourless zinnias.