Old set fire to Big Tex--; old set fire to old Big Tex
Yip it kids my heart, kid: today's tomorrow--;
say the leader's dead but this reminds me of the leader
The old die Jack Mike Jim they go
shut the mountain down--; grow bit more each day
but birthdays grow much yold Big old Tex--;
& the wall banged open will lead to something
the number you can't count--; do you like that feeling?
Tex old die holes they can die in these
& think about their teeth & their attitude--;
You know someday some might wear me out
right down to the steel--; got to say right now
Who wants some wine? Who wants to be king?
Howdee-hee-hee yold yold Tex fire--;
YES! & back HOME in the TN corner of the SOUTH:--
in time! the MISSISSIP has encroached DOWNTOWN:--
is USURPING the land from my F*THER'S FR*ENDS:--
swelling of its DRAGON CHEST puffing out up FRONT ST.:--
indeed! breathes water at THE BRIDGE to take back the MAIN RD.:--
SUMMER 11 will be w*shed! & RESTORED!:--
to BEFORE THE TIME the river was DREDGED & CHANNELED:--
a W*LD & W*CKED thing the MISSISSIP today:--
& here! on its DRAGON BACK brings the PARADE:--
off they go! the MOUNDS! slide into THE CITY:--
a TORNADO from NATCHEZ! an ICE FLOE from STL!:--
the n*farious celebrations of MARDI GRAS from N.O.!:--
L**K at all the EXTRAVAGANT costumery & the SCALES:--
OH! the HALF-SUNK & SINKING mighty SULTANA:--
won't you L*STEN to the bang! of those THREE TERRIBLE BOILERS:--
now THIS is really SOMETHING! watch out! M*MPHIS:--
you've NOT YET SEEN the LAST of the PARADE:--
the SUBLIME! or all the W*TER W*TER W*TER!:--
you ALL will be MEASURED both OUT & AGAINST:--
the whole UNIVERSE coming in BEAUTIFUL MOTION:--
Interim e Vesuvio monte pluribus locis latissimae flammae altaque incendia relucebant,
quorum fulgor et claritas tenebris noctis excitabatur.
Meanwhile on Mount Vesuvius broad sheets of fire and leaping flames blazed at several points,
their bright glare emphasized by the darkness of night.
—Pliny the Younger, Letter 6.16 (to Cornelius Tacitus)
THE GIANT himself! is here or recently was
here—; the Great Mountain, the Car of the Gods,
(to bring THE NIGHT back down to us from CLOUDS)
has appeared! to throw up sheets of FIRE! that rise
from where the GILDED, GOLDEN delegates
(that represent our dumbly cowed down men)
have gathered out to watch THE LOCAL EVENT
& pace! imprinting tracks with heavy tread—;
torrents of steady light fall GREEN in THE SPUME—;
the plume (a black rainbow, a darkish pine)
is growing branches!: not yet named but alive
the same—; THE BEACH covered with fires, SPEWS!
fountains of blood: the what of Christ (that HEAD
alive!) intolerably hot in SAND & ROCK
& TUFF—; we GROW out from it (dry forgotten
flowers) completely freed! that is except
at our POINT OF ATTACHMENT—; I'm no man of science:
I KNOW the soul is modest / immortal—; I KNOW
that (stolen) cars are used / abandoned / sold—;
our BODIES STOLEN too—; there's no SECRET!
no Sunday's child: our WORLD is familiar to us,
our language / actions familiar—; we move AHEAD
& TOWARD a definite point in the real, are led!
that way, but we are TRULY the folk of a world
of imagination—; TASTE OF TRUTH to take:
why! we must all at some point have our own,
& WHO's to say THE ASH (here) has not flown
onto my tongue except to give ME! MINE!
Michael Gossett has written a lyric essay (Poor Claudia), a conceptual fragment (Found Poetry Review), a broadside (Black Aggie Press), reviews of conceptual writing (The Volta 365), and text for experimental choral and electroacoustic compositions. He received an MFA in Poetry from the University of Maryland in 2013 and lives in Astoria, Queens.