|Times Square, the shuttle’s quick chrome
flies open and the whole car floods with– what is it? Infernal industry, the tunnels
under Manhattan broken into hell at last?
Guttural churr and whistle and grind
of the engines that spin the poles?
Enormous racket, ungodly. What it is
is percussion: nine black guys
with nine lovely, previously unimagined
constructions of metal ripped and mauled,
welded and oiled: scoured chemical drums,
torched rims, unnameable disks of chrome.
Artifacts of wreck? The end of industry?
A century’s failures reworked, bent,
hammered out, struck till their shimmying
tumbles and ricochets from tile walls:
anything dinged, busted or dumped
can be beaten till it sings.
A kind of ghostly joy in it,
though this music’s almost unrecognizable,
so utterly of the coming world it is.
copyright 1994, from Atlantis, HarperCollins, 1995