AT (for Christina) H H ENTRANCE damp night in Cambridge O A V leaves rain heavy E N blurred lights in mist the Troll leading the way--to a large house on a corner--near the Observatory--beside tennis courts--fences ghostly in fog--smell of October--leaf mold--brilliance of oil slicks in puddles gleaming--picked out by passing lights-- the Troll could be-- a well meaning friend . . . --you'll like this guy--he reads books--does some drugs--works for the Party at his job at the Globe Party guys ain't supposed-- --yeah but he's a writer, too, see--gotta experience everything he writes for the Globe-- --Nah--works in the baling room--Union gig--lotta dough what's he write-- --stories about the working man Jack and drugs on the side-- --yeah he's a good shit--needs somebody to talk to talk's cheap enough-- inside a long stair way mezzanine to mezzanine--a few girls sitting in a darkened glassed in porch--looking sideways-- --at the top of the stairs, doors and corridors-- books on shelves heaped--smell of a recent shower--dim sounds in rooms-- KNOCKING on the door . . . a muffled voice-- the Troll stood patiently--looking at his new boots--scuffing a spot of leaf--a scrap of paper--a hint of mud . . . . . . door opening a crack sleepy eyes looking out--handsome face--dark hair in dim light had a sheen to it --yo I boughtcha a friend--he's cool--reads a lot man--has a lotta books anyway--the guy i told you about long pause . . . eyes focusing . . . head turning cautious to check the room . . . Finally . . . the head moved behind the door--door swung open slowly-- a nice room--desk with lamp, big armchairs, shelves of books, big bay window looking out to rainy night--trees, tennis court, distant street lights--giant bed--boxes of records-- the handsome man moved catlike--flicked with his foot a syringe under covers hanging from the bed--looked as though he'd been long dozing-- rain picked up--the Troll lit a cigarette--floppied in a chair--stared out the window-- moving through the dim lit room--looking at the walls, the books-- a giant photo of Mayakovsky staring from a corner-- "Four words, heavy as a blow: ' . . . unto Caesar . . . unto God . . . ' But where can a man like me bury his head? Where is there shelter for me?" the Troll sat impassive in shadows--smoking--the handsome man sat slowly down on the bed--his eyes gleamed--coming awake--catlike movement coiled in attention-- "I yelled at the sun point-blank: 'Get down! Stop crawling into that hellhole!' At the sun I yelled: 'You shiftless lump! You're caressed by the clouds, while here--winter and summer-- I must sit and draw these posters!'" the Troll despite himself stared--cigerette close to burning clenched fingers--the handsome man's eyes smoldered--a convulsion slowly rippled his body--he fumbled for a glass-- (and very cliche shall have its day its effects tried and true . . . the mind wandering . . . has at hand its few crutches in a pinch) girls voices in the hall--windows rain blurred light streaked--the handsome man-- the Troll had said-- needed someone to talk to-- & so had dug up for him from a basement room near the Mt. Auburn Cemetery a ghost-- to ventriloquise--for the benefit--of whom? the Party man--the writer in search of experiences-- a dizzying labyrinth an abcess in the labyrinth erupted in space (--turning eyes to avert the collision--so as not to untidy the room . . . an incessant voice shadowing remnants of a life . . . no desire to leave its corpse on clean rugs-- in a warm room--cozy among covers-- desk lamps and padded chairs--) the Troll on the way over--had recounted--a confused story--a labored parable--of "Protective Custody" . . . "In your cozy little apartment world, curly-heded lyricists sprout in bedrooms. What do you find in these lapdog lyricists?! As for me, I learned about love In Butryiki . . . "I fell in love with the keyhole of Cell 103 Staring at the daily sun, people ask: 'How much do they cost, those little sunbeams?' But I for a yellow patch of light jumping on the wall would thenhave given everything in the world." the Troll jumped--the cigerette had singed his fingers--he cursed softly--the handsome man rose slowly --from the bed--his arms arcing as he moved forwards-- --Comrade! you know Mayakovsky!-- he knows a lot of weird shit-- the Troll was pleased with himself . . . he prided himself on his surprises--he had a reputation to keep up--and there might be something in it for him . . . the handsome man put out his hands--to shake--and embrace--he seemed at once solid--and hollow--a large construction in balsa wood-- the Troll sat perched expectantly--the handsome man--noticing--turned to a cabinet--pulled out bottles of imported beer--an opener--moving to the desk--sliding open a slim concealed drawer--produced two ampules-- Coversations-- may be worked like toy racing cars--their speeds controlled--on a plastic track--with each voice competing-- into the curve the handsome man went--excitedly--steadying on the straightaway-- the Troll enjoyed such sports--was a one man crowd-- Mayakovsky's photo--large--glowered on the wall--stop watches in his eyes the handsome man explained his mission, his work, his readings--his writings--his collections of pornography and O!! music--his car moving fast, lap after lap--curve, straightaway, curve, straightaway-- the Troll supplied with beers urging on the drivers-- the photo Mayakovsky's stop watch eyes whirring . . . rain on windows--girls' voices--warm room--ampules broken--a red dot on arm-- But the Third Writers' Congress wa troubling--historical facts muddy myths--and vice versa-- the handsome man revealed--he was a Trotskyite he had struggles reconciling his duties and his desires-- which he thought could be justified--by wrting--by being an observer and worker at the front lines--of Party and prose-- --so--and you Comrade--how do you know Mayakovsky?-- how do you reconcile duties and desires--do you write--are you political-- my duties and desires are the same-- --but where did you learn all this--do you write-- do you study--do you believe in commitment-- the Troll stirred restlessly--uncertain of the speeding cars--a yellow caution flag in his hands--gesturing for another beer-- --I was committed--to Protective Custody-- he laughed nervously-- the handsome man waited patiently--serving drinks--cleaning ashtrays--putting away syringes and spoons-- --pretty good stuff- -he said--his eyes pinned, a slight smile--I only get the best anymore--stolen from a hospital-- the hospital heist was legendary--the handsome man knew someone who knew someone who knew . . . --but back to Mayakovsky!--he's pretty good stuff too-- Mayakovsky on the wall--fine bottled beer--the best of morphine--a slight odor of perfume--nice hardbound books-- comfortable chairs--a big bed--rain rolling on window pane-- outside the Observatory and tennis courts-- Gorky means the bitter one-- --but Gorky's ralism is not developed enough-- it is not easy to develop bitterness-- --it can be channeled for use--my area of interest-- the race cars went round and round--no one would be at the Observatory on a night like this--the Cemetery leaves must be heavy to bruash against tonight--the tennis courts slippery-- the Third Congress--festered--a scab the handsome man dug at-- morphine and and warmth stirred his rhetoric--he spoke with lazy passion--a fascination with distant deaths moved him-- in his panoramic view of history--of literature--mythological battles were translated into the facts of everyday struggles-- his job--his writing--myth and history speeding on a plastic track--competing--for a drunken crowd-- the Observatory this night--had no panoramic view--the domed roof closed against the rain--only a seismograph inside registering planetary movements--dim jottings of fault lines-- through an abcess in time--space rushed in--and in it time whirred in photographed eyes--a record of light once there-- reprojected in a dim lit room-- through an abcess in skin--a liquid rained in--mixing in veins to a pumping heart--the lungs contracted--projecting dreamed images-- wet windows--blurred lights--a mirror on a half opened closet door presenting their reflections-- room full of images-- --later the Troll was standing by the door--giving his customary word of parting--a leap in time seemed to have occurred-- outsdie the wind had picked up--the leaves gesturing frantically--making a transeint script of shadows on walls-- writing went on all around--signs everywhere--their significances muted in wind--among leaves-- an old empty house stood on a corner where two streets joined in a haphazard diagonal--the railings of a metal fence punctuated by rust and dents--its gate held by a padlocked chain--signs plastered on boarded windows-- --they say it's haunted-- the Troll walked faster when passing it--he had a few bottles in his pockets--that wouldn't be missed for a day or tow--all in an evening's work--for the middleman-- the Troll dropped off and headed North-- --later --his eyes asked for a thanks--his hands received opther bottles not to be missed for a day or two-- the Cemetery with its hill looked like the hump of the Observatory--surmounted by its tower--a telescope stretched to clouds--a telescope stretched to clouds-- "If you wish. I shall rage on raw meat: or, as the sky changes its hue, if you wish, I shall grow irrepraachably tender: not a man, but a cloud in trousers!" leaves heavy with rain rustling restlessly--the night patrol car's lights scribbling tree branches' shadowed calligraphies on headstones--among the famous and statued dead-- and far away the State statues of suicided Mayakovsky stood-- "I feel my 'I' is much too small for me. Stubbornly a body pushes out of me."