Thus Spake Sadakichi
"To be in any form, what is that?
(Round and round we go, all of us, and come back thither)"
--Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
what's in a name?
"fortunate if constant"
continents adrift incense afloat
(the first light show?)
two absinthes "toast to the absent ones"
"Listening to Incense"
in the Imperial Court of Nippon
the Dragon's back
"It wd. have been worthwhile
to have been Sadakichi...
Not that my constitution
wd. have weathered
First to write a history of American Art
First to eye the camera critically
Last to dance the fin de siecle
Douglas Fairbanks said,
"You have the eyes of a saint;
the rest of your face is like that of a villain"--
cast you as the Court Magician
in "The Thief of Bagdad"
Didn't need make-up,
Sadakichi "the King of Bohemia"
Sadakichi "the Man Behind the Mask"
"that damned Japanee" (Whitman)
"a grotesque etched in flesh by the drunken Goya of Heaven" (De Casseres)
"the most dangerous man in American letters" (Amy Lowell)
"the most dangerous man in the world" (Sheridan Ford)
Jailed in Boston for your play "Christ"
Investigated by the FBI during WWII
for wandering the desert at night
near clapboard shack
facing Mount San Jacinto
signaling the Jap bombers
to rain down
10,000 paper cranes
upon the unsuspecting
(On Columbus Day)
wind on water
for the taking
on bank holiday
"waves on the shore"
no way to get to the bank
will checks bounce
like Nina, Pinta,
break the bank
at Indian casino
Turning Stone's reverse alchemy
(Niagara Falls the Canadian entry--
cascade of coins makes dynamo hum)
better bank on putting by for winter
best if there's community storehouse
(Ezra right on that, at least)
corn aplenty, as Iroquois knew,
but we have Columbus Day sales
radio reverb reminders
sail away on a shopper's cruise
Columbus wouldn't leave home without it
i.e., borrowed jewels to rue
Now that we're all
slaves of the algo-
Can we still hear
any beat but
the 010101010101010101 to infinity
damnable disco drum machine
Don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing
Workingman's Dead Oh
Our no name bar
around the bend
at Cottonwood Point
once the site
of dance hall,
the "Moulin Rouge"
just down the road
from the "Pink Elephant"
whose exiting customers scared Jane, my landlady,
when she was a kid.
The dance hall went through several owners
and several names
in the 40s and 50s
until Jim Lemen
opened it as the "Moon Frog."
He was shot that very night
losing an eye
and eventually his license
with lakeside rowdyism.
Christ, it's been tame
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