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The Late Mayor of Angeles City
[April 2, 1994]

Four flat in the wet grass,
freshly cut with hand scythes,
we pause in the scarlet Jitney
draped by scapuli and images
of the Holy Mother of Jesus,
the obligation of strangers
to pay respects to dead bodies
of other strangers
en route to a factory
where they paint on velvet,
Hank, I hear, built a factory
in Magnitogorsk in Russia
the idea of making something
out of parts spreading on its own power,
you do an arm,
me a foot, and like that,
piecework by body part,
same as the Mayor of Angeles City
in the grass of the yard
with his wife and daughters
skirts hiked up to their thin waists.
Garter belt women, they wear
no pantyhose in these parts
or over theirs.
Some places they leave a corpse
face down to trap its spirit.
Here I can't say why,
we're just passing through,
in search of diversions
with the sometime living.
Come down from the mountains,
descendants of the Hukbalahaps
of the old days running now
under the name of Beatles,
the group, I Want to Hold Your Hand,
ready to rock and roll for justice
of their own definition.
Sprayed the four
at their front door
with Kalashnikovs,
returning from St. Something's,
freshly confessed,
one presumes,
clean in soul and clothing
and no scanties underneath,
the only image that persists
three decades later.

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