1920. His words stalk the silhouettes of Wall Street
a dark encumbering sea of desolate meanings
in shoes that refused to move the tumbling hopes
of the Republic

He looked for something
he forgot to remember
remembering only what to forget
A hypnotist’s oracular tongue
in a house ceasing to dream
A grift in a silk suit he held
the country’s heart with his “hollywood looks”

He counted words
daily in a different voices
memorized their bitter virtues
in the hours drunks lament
a childhood of broken mirrors
He charted maps across

a park of fallen trees
where premonitions poked
up from a gray earth
where the echoes of wrong
became right
His white hair a silk flag
his public saluted with reverence
blackened into a Tea Pot
assaulting the abstract democracy
his worshipers could no longer
drink from…He procured a girl
to bolster his innocence with faithful emotions…

His days began to winter
like his hair
into a snowfall of pigeons
on a park bench
in the dawn of 1922—San Francisco
his luck fell to its knees
in a plate of King Crabs and mistaken identities
still pawning America
little by little
into an empty room
of promises
for the price
of a lifetime