The Rialto walk-in theatre's
14 foot-high newsreel screen,
On the evening of January 26, 1952,
Drubbed schoolteachers' brains.
Our flicking screen roared up a frame
Train engine backing out
Of an avalanche in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The engine's cab savaged the Angel of Death's
Glance. & that Southern Pacific's cab
Towered higher than all
Smokestacks of Standard Oil plants.
Next to that engine massive rotary snowplows
Were the molecules of sparks of electric storms.
Nobody died in the wreck even if they were old.
Yet I knew 17 days from graduation all
Almanacs had been bulldozed down
Into the pit & burned.
The dark woods would soon close in,
& spontaneity, a child grabbing
At all the shelves of a library,
Would never again be showcased.
Those dreamers of heartwood, they would
Interchain time, & be drowned
In a brook of the shadows of willows.
This is a
Firethorn murmur world, it will say,
& your only hope
Is it will beat
Out of you.