Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Patron Saint of Librarians & Wheel Makers

A beautiful myth— the burning library
your shattering touch demanding answer
from the men binding your half, a slackening

thought destruction appears on the local scale
brights & ball peen hammer, cutting past coherence,
now broken hub & spoke angering him that

condemns you, while smoke writes an argument which
you proud in faith reject, not hearing the scrolls
hissing and the shelves, like your life, unburdened.

Queens of England (Farewell)

I beat the empire in the letter fold, a steel navy out to sea
I let the German kings sink stone by stone Hanover gets its answer

twee & dumb & mute—
now the rail to Birmingham, now plaid on the chav

I put regiments in order, so England is as England was.
I am the council flat in Liverpool and language is the dole.

They say that queens are strivers and Nöel Coward would agree.
I put my suitcase down when the subways started flooding.

This, this is England.


You do America in headdress and bruises.
You do it with a gun permit and a chip on your shoulder.

You take that picture in velvet, in cashmere and rub your
fingers crisp, Sargent & the Jews & New England & the money

of shoe leather—
Turn from the sea, forget the navy, commerce is the harbor.

Sensitive to tycoons and railway stock,
you dig a mine in Nevada, you fell a tree in Michigan

and when the skies go quiet, you put your suitcase down.

America is a map, not much more, maybe less.