Wallace Stevens: Seven Teal Claws

For Francis Heaney, author of Anthology Holy Tango of Literature

In the Walmart at the end of the mind
The sale of sales will blare. Such sales prevail
On pockets burning, lucrative, unsolved.

(Here, rudiments of bathroom fixtures are
Mere plastic tusks, those spigot handles held.)
The shoppers’ eyes are green because they’re spent.

This is not paradise of consumption,
Of filthy lucre, filth that lucre lost,
Except it needs illimitable claws

To animate my tub, splayed, erect and cast
In iron as lashing lions’ lilting loins:
A rub-a-dub-dub and hoolah halub!

Excruciations make of love and hate
One frustration for Sunday morning sales –
The numbered, colored rage for ordered claws!

It goes beyond the pale of pale Ramon!
O sullied orphanage of economics!
The tub, the sink: that’s four and four makes eight –

But shelves are stocked with teal not puce
With perfect panoplies of teal not puce –
The paltry puce and the managing man

Were adamant to say, no matter how,
“You ordered eight, but only seven came”
To slash the veld’s gazelle: It’s all the same.


  1. And when it is spent, take the refuse far away so that I never remember it even existed.

    Good stuff.

  2. To say nothing of the antelope-horn towel hooks or the flamingo soap dispenser. Damn thing broke first time my three-year-old got ahold of it.

    • The wife is still bitter about the toaster – and the runaround she got for trying to replace it. It worked about 2.5 weeks before it went tits up – then, having bought the consumer protection insurance for it (for a toaster?!) at the time of purchase, she contacted Walmart, who told her that GE (the manufacturer) had a prior warranty that needed to be honored first at which point she gave the thing to the boys to practice with their bb guns on…


  3. Extended warranty for a toaster! No profanity is adequate! Beat them with sticks, it will do them good.

Speak Your Mind