Copyright 2000 e. blakemore.
(outside the frame)
Sestina for the Radiant Future
(with apologies to Alexander Zinoviev)
Dust of seven years soddens the weave of upholstered chairs
Inside a Jersey Transit train sidetracked at Trenton
Where "TRENTON MAKES T E WORLD TAKES
" glares down red
The beginnings of an amateur revolution, facing the railway station.
These dust-filled cars are ghosts
, Edward Hopper
With green light on a gray prospect, visions of workers
To their radiant future. Meanwhile, frightened soldiers are marching
To ghost sounds of cheering; in the mansion talks of electric chairs,
Weapons, budgets. All outside the city: sleek silver columns of armor-plated cars
Held by businessmen, commissars and labor leaders of Trenton
Standing as icons to caste and station
Self-parodied resistance of capital to waves turned sudden red.
A tower in the city of factories blinks a different red
Broadcasts against rebellion, abetting and inhibiting the chanting, marching.
Singing against smelly silence, the renegade radio station,
Exchanges legal license for the kind that lives, and the voiceless take announcer's chairs,
Rend the webs outside with, "Moguls of Trenton,
No more safety for you in bulletproof black cars!"
A crowd at the city's edge surrounds those cars,
Smashes smoke-tint windshields, opens cars like cans of tuna, but now tinged red.
A web of relationships that ensnared Trenton
Itself was cut deep from this marching
That the compradors at first thought so amusing from their deck chairs
Tanning, or managing the neighborhood gas station.
As if in lethal dreaming, the guardsman boys attack the station:
Gas, train, radio station, no matter; police cars
Surround, in turn are surrounded. Police families tied to chairs,
The business cycle now measured in hostages. Terrified officers red:
Angry to be mown down, to find themselves marching
To reeducation centers that rehabilitate the mansions of Trenton
The liberated zone! Trenton the free! Trenton
The just! A train at the station
Workers follow, marching, marching,
Each admires what is hers, the cars,
Radiant symbols to the world, triumph red,
And full of collectively deep, communally clean chairs.
Too bad, waking in a train outside Trenton, in chairs
We'll never own, that at this station at this moment the rail cars' red
Means nothing of marching, of chants, of unlived potential—but means instead, only cars.
(related by revolutions)