Volume 23, Number 2

Remember Leon Trotsky

Early one morning in autumn
you asked me, where is the electricity?
Last week it was here, I think; now it’s gone.
Don’t talk about Saturday next;
who knows what’s going to turn up?

I had a dream of steamy railway stations,
sentimental signs no one could decipher,
blacked-out trains filled with foreign soldiers.
Gallery crowds of pallid rock-salt people;
being human was never their destiny.

Outside, streets and alleys become darkly
translucent. Goatherds and camel drivers
lead the way to the frontier. Which way?
Every now & then I’m back in the kitchen
with you, looking for the electricity.

Strangers are talking, making speeches; bats
and angels fly out of their mouths, holy,
heavenly. Happy too? I wish I knew.
Preachers scare me to pieces. Some rants rip you,
some disguise the deadly sententious tarantula.

All this blood: mine, all mine, flows freely
from fresh speakwounds, runs playfully
ahead of me on the pavement. Light-hearted
flavour of illicit secret spices, joyful colour!
like the flag of everlasting victory.

Is this the kind of dream that changes you?
or one that eddies your brain and makes
your piss turn blue? The electricity was here
a moment ago, then left us dangling from the scales
at the bum end of the Fourth International.

—Jane Røken