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Death Watch
[Building 88, April 25,1993]

Talons of winter's fury
on us with a desperation
of the soon-to-die, resisting
the pull of vernal equinox,
the wind gusting down from Alberta,
snow pelting insulated panes,
a tantalizing tattoo,
the death song.

I sit among Countess Maras
adherents smug in crispy gray,
sartorial, seamless people of wool,
perusing computer printouts,
inputs holding forth on outputs,
I am a captive among both species,
slogging through their runes,
ruins, indistinguishable,
they chant mantras of P and L,
factoring factory factors,
alliterative, glitter less,
they are intent on strategic planning:
how many caplets can be sold
in x-time at y-cost of goods,
the difference the only thing,
with markets being flat and still
as a dead man's vitals.

When will he die and who will ascend?
They see the climb, but not the fall.

The Chairman has a tick, no tock,
talks a language all his own,
mumbling incoherently, lists port,
finger-points, the sinking maestro,
leading the orchestra
of nodding yay-men, slit-eyed
narcoleptics breathing softly,
syncopated, metronomic,
the automotonic succubi
anticipating his last gasp,
MBA, Made By Aliens,
soon to shed their skins,
they have no souls these bottom-feeders,
they want it all
in a bright sun
on a green planet
of their own making.

In the morning the Chairman sags
in a motorized, computerized
wheelchair that can be rigged to run
by straw-powered air from the lips
of the near-dead;
he takes poison from clear tubing
into withered blue-hard veins,
(packed with bluestone clay maybe),
can see it drippety-drop-drip into him,
hard wires worked too long,
beyond the dealer's warranty
and expiration dating,
doomed by stress and genetics,
ambitions too,
they've lost their elasticity,
to kill the cancer in his spine.

He has diaphanous flesh,
the heinous sort
old Ed Gheinous yearned for
up in Rhinelandrous, WI,
the color of campfire smoke,
hiding in his back-office,
the office within the office
within the office,
Oriental if nothing else,
slumped on the electric throne,
the Zen: he is a man alone,
setting an example of dedication,
cornered by carcinoma,
soon to die
while profits accumulate
and stocks go unoptioned.

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