Word/ For Word # 2

Vernon Frazer


                   Empire in Decline


Spring in the afterbirth of pneumatic referenda
rapidly attenuates, the stigmatic hillock its tenor.

The shaft:

                         an enigma trestled
                         a honeymoon in stacked peregrine.
                         Its nettled fancy

the plunder, whose enamored frolics rule
dead flesh of rabid mentors. Their follicles crow

                               unnoticed, their breeding insecure
                                    as crescents shriek their pilloried paths.
                                          The Roman bathhouse, nude, obscures

the horizon:

                                    a sunset dawn
                                          trickling down
                                                                     rhizomes of lost character






Sweating Gentrification


The stealth of integers notwithstanding
their capered tenements must crunch the crude
remnants enumerating landed entry.

Toward the waterway a last coarse
hordes, its fiery thread of quartered meters
hostage to lording isolate satires.

Projected over cummerbund mayhem,
unstitched under transfixed threats, more treadless
stairs flare. Late volley, fixtures

implicit. In derringer plumbing
neither agates nor crystals can flume.
Shore to mountain, fissures agape

its serrated notch: a compliant contraband,
bringing all fourth instruments home to number.
Nerve endings riff the red arboretum blue.

Its wealth a serpentine playground,
illicit customers swim. Fiscal tides on, breakers
remunerating their blood's last itch




[contributors' notes]