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.