Maxwell Bodenheim

1892 - 1954 / Mississippi / United States


With sardonic futility
The multi-coloured crowd,
Hurried by fervent sensuality,
Flees from something carried on its back.
Endlessly subdued, a sound
Pours up from the crowd,
Like some one ever gasping for breath
to utter releasing words.
Through the artificial valley
Made by gaudy evasions,
The stifled crowd files up and down,
Stabbing thought with rapid noises.
Women strutting dulcetly,
Embroider their unappeased hungers,
And men stumble toward a flitting opiate.
Sometimes a moment breaks apart
And one can hear the knuckles
Of children rapping on towering doors:
Rapping on the highway
Where civilization parades
Its frozen amiabilities!
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