Magazine article World Literature Today

Tom Smithson Dead in His Garret

Magazine article World Literature Today

Tom Smithson Dead in His Garret

Article excerpt

to Carlos Germán Belli

You left

through the smoke spirals of your famished fingers.

You arose above the burning tide of Long Island

perhaps to better dream from the depth of your equestrian

eyelids

of tasty morsels that your hungry clown palate

could only imagine.

It is false to say you died,

that they vomited you forever as if a useless thing.

Your sleep must be as light as the plumage of the California

whores

as graceful as one of those Manhattan elevators.

They fear seeing you wake at some unearthly hour

to go toward Wall Street and tell the sausage makers

that it is beautiful to dictate commercial letters to the blond

typists,

but even more beautiful to wander the banks of the Hudson.

Like that January day,

that sunrise of young lips and sheer breasts

when you directed your dreams toward the pastry shop,

so astonished,

so deeply surprised to discover God amidst the cream tarts

and feel his weight on your stomach's livid walls. …

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