The Use of Language

John Grey


The language applies


to the telephone-poled west coast.

and the overpowering belief

            that city waste is another word for Disneyland –

singing, rambling,

             ending at the wordless train parade

while a bald eagle grins

             because it once ate its way

             through a nest of rats –

ah, the joy of blonde moons,

           coal-hopping raven,

           creosote bushes,

           crucified nostrils –

all these words,


for the sick lover of a planet.

            heart-beating, eyes weeping

like holocaust and Lincoln’s cabin

or dope raids at Little Big Horn –

I’ll stick with English thanks

from trochee to arcadian forest,

mine collapse to Supreme court,

umpteenth time to only the once –

            it’s all one big wonder mansion

            to be put through the literary wringer -

believe me,

I’ve been drunk from less.