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Night and the Radio

ISSUE:  Winter 1976
Under the covers he rubs the stolen lamp
and rides waves out of the too familiar harbor
of his head. The genie responds,
a thousand voices leap
to tell him more than he can guess.
Chicago at his service,
Memphis fiddling in mid-tune draws its bow
across the strings of night.
Incandescent in guilt
the tubes warm up to burn their dust.

He knows what he wants,
rudely cuts the tongues
and cancels balls in mid-air held by screams
to find the tag end of his stationmaster’s voice
he follows slipping through a slant-eyed glow
hunched in his hold of sheets
where speakers lure like shadows out to the light
of other lives, and he is lost
in the space Lamont Cranston occupies.

Beyond him the oyster room is breathing,
unperturbed by his grit of sound.
Somewhere cars pass
and water of light is washing over walls.
Who knows where the child has gone,
what stealth will take him to
or what the current brings him day after day?
Scripts may end or tubes blow out
but he will always want to curl
in the chamber of another life
outside the smooth walls of his precious self
until when covers are turned back,
the genie no longer retrievable
and box gone limp,
the eyes will admit their ignorance of what
the shadow knows.


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