Private thoughts in public places
Bring to the scene their own depiction;
Out of friction
Bodies and faces
Issue from a random line.
Pink arrays of canvas flesh
Face him now
Inside a house
Bruised wallpaper fruit is pressed,
Heavy bosoms grazing his chest.
He steps back, glasses in hand,
And with a gasp sees them expand
To flowers on a woman’s blouse.
She rises, inquires,
“Like that one, sir?”
More comment than the man inspires,
Contrasting with the seller’s desire
His absent air.
She gazes at him as a mask,
Dead-white, her face a flat expanse
That slopes away from lips who ask,
“One kiss on those dear blank eyes!”
The mouth is cast
Still round and stiffened in a laugh
He cannot hear over the cries
Of dancers to the passers-by
Or move across the whirling masque
Where diamond tears on every cheek
Rise to drown him in maudlin grief
Until he fears the marble hall will burst.
Then with a crash, to his disbelief,
Clear portals open in a gust,
Overhead cheap wind chimes smash,
The saleslady looks up in disgust,
And he rises through them with relief.