Topsyturvy Dom

The gravedigger was overwhelmed with pity
for a chained-up dog, a mastiff skinny as a lightbulb

filament, as a cobra coiled in the wicker
basket of loneliness. Left bereft, his boots

stuck to the floor of a movie house, he walked
on his lobster pincers, lolloped across flat, arid

land, lugged a matchboxful of miasma
to a Greyhound depot with a vaulted ceiling.

Staring at the Catherine wheel in a liminal state
I strummed a Dobro to the bump bump WHUMP,

bump bump WHUMP & train-whistle harmonica
of a Neil Young song. O my hydra-headed loneliness

stood on its heads while I navel-gazed, navigated
a cruel world on circus stilts, toppled

into the gutter. Sleeping with trash I levitated,
drifted like sewer stench down a colonnade

of dustdevils to a faraway forest, loblollies
standing on their heads, roots grapneling clouds.

A troupe of lunatics would have dervished into
my lungs had not the shadow of a cloud

absorbed them like sweeping compound, leaving a glassy
sheen as of an unguent, as of Zamboni-

sleeked sleepers on a subway that, mirrored
in its own wake like a ship, appears to be

standing on its head. When you dance on your hands
among gravestones–back boxes of pinball machines–

the abattoir of your brain floods with blood,
the illusions you have about yourself trickle

out of your ears, & your wire-rimmed glasses dive
off the bridge of your nose; when you ride

the carousel of a slide projector round
& round, cruising your nocturnal haunts,

the dark, standing on its head, dazzles like
bejeweled spiders blooming in wild profusion.

A train emblazoned with luminous graffiti
jackknifes, as do I over the typewriter

on which I ghostwrite a column for Harpies Bizarre.
While I sleep an unkindness of black-jacketed,

Ray-Banned guys alights; & a beachcomber
steps out of a mural (fingerpainted in molten

lava) into 3-D, flourishing a dead
clock flecked with sand. When the guillotine

stands on its head, its blade hisses upward;
when I stand on my head my soul goes aloft

on my soles. But if the hiss of a cobra-coiled
radiator could peel off wallpaper, peals

of laughter could depress you into morbid
introspection; & nothing could alleviate

your depression except indulging your ghoulish kink
for being flogged with car-wash straps while you

stand on your head, your long black hair fanned out
on the ceiling of a cathedral–the floor of a skiff

stalled on a trash-clogged ocean.