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Concrete Mother of us all,
wide as a redwood, two stories tall,
the sharp span of your Roman nose
divides your almond eyes
that face southwest like satellites
toward Viet Nam, where America lost its heart.
Your neighbor, the bronze congressman,
didn't see it coming.
Now we long for malt shops.
I swear I saw a man today
dressed like Montgomery Clift.

Bless me, Mother, for I have sinned, I confess
I am a Lutheran lacking in tenderness
with no one to humanize for me
this strange mosaic of Christ
impressed upon your robe of cement,
his lips twisted to the left and down
for suffering the Old Testament,
his right brain tiled in yellow, his left in purple,
each bearing an Egyptian eye
(two for the seer, two to see)
above the other eyes, all four composed
of dodge-ball rings of black and gray tiles
with mother-of-pearl for pupils,
properly Byzantine.

The sun falls short of the Golden Gate
and fades like the dot in the picture tube
forty miles below Marin.
The sky turns violet, then slate.
Night is for sinners — that is clear
from your son's purple left hemisphere
where Moses divined laws
and Aristotle, cause,
and PET scans pinpoint depression.

Hart Crane's painter friend believed
the four points of the cross to be
good and evil, ugliness and beauty,
and their intersection, art.
Hart killed himself at the same age
as Magic's number
(in Laker purple and gold).
According to theory
this was beautiful and ugly, evil and good.
Jeffers would have understood.

      — CE Chaffin