Saturday, 17 September 2016

Relic Environments Trilogy: Book III, Part 1.ix

from Book III, Part 1, The Lord of Time, His Curiosity and Galliard


Paladin
(The crowd) wants blood and death…           
                                -Robert “Evel” Knievel, 1938-2007


Across the ancient mirror, blooms of acid

Fixed in these islands, between shadows
A raw heart
The first breath and rawness of dreams
Pale days passing unrecovered, the senses
Blanked to everything but the flawed bell echoing

How else the plain speech of it without sadness
How else the night’s collapse, and morning’s faint sparking   
To appease

A prophecy of dead stars, moving
As a creature moves, calling into the silence
This is the future without us, instead
Of time, a border bound by all the dead

The clock running backwards, pools of light spiralling
Past the crust of galaxies
Where the gods were

*
A box of headlights
And within that box another, and another, each
More deeply hued        

November numb with rain, matryoshka traffic opens south

Forecasts whittled-down to doughy cumulus underlit red
With the far city

Driving through the night, I hear the radio say
Evel is dead
60s daredevil and later
The motorcycle jump across Snake River, a rocket to clear it

*
It’s easy to make comments, assumptions
Facts distorting facts, emotive
Aimed at

The game, Evel Knievel Stunt Master
Thomas J said
I still haven’t beaten the substance missions
I still haven’t found the hidden place in Silent Cartographer
But I can do Evel

There's more, but most aren’t worth the breath
The hahaha of getting your ass owned 
In Prototype Mode, priceless, yeah
And pretty hard, especially this version of souped-up
Eternal Darkness

You have to get all the effects

Wembley ‘75, London buses side by side for Evel sailing  over
When he hit the ramp his bones went
Bang

A prophecy of dead stars, moving

Thomas J and Vada, riding their bikes on Vada’s drive
Thomas J springs his feet off the pedals and Vada says
Oh wow, a real Evel Knievel

Is that the only way it can be remembered 

*
Snake River
Evel remembered
I didn’t even think I had a fifty-fifty, everyone
Said to me don’t do it
But I wanted to keep my word

I climbed up and got strapped in, when
I punched that Power button I thought God, here I come

I always said when the canyon jump comes
If I miss it I'll get somewhere quicker where you're all going Someday

When the Sky-Cycle launched, the parachute opened
Too soon, the headwinds blowing Evel
Back into the canyon
He crashed six hundred feet below
By the waters of the Snake

Twelve thousand people trampling fences
To get to the edge, to see what’s going down
To see what they’d remember

Evel climbs out of the rocket, walked away
The first breath and rawness
Of dreams

*
In 1895, crowd-psychologist Gustave Le Bon wrote
Isolated, a man may be a cultivated individual
In a crowd he is a barbarian

*
‘Yosemite’ Sam Radoff, still out the ten grand
Evel owed him
The bounced cheque, the legal trouble, date back years

Sam built a custom bike for the stunt king

Detroit, the 70s, Evel shows up at the shop                     
A real showman, all furs and jewellery    
Kids follow him everywhere

Sam said, we had a judgment against him
I called him before the Snake River jump, and said
My lawyer’s going to stop the jump
If you don't do something with me real soon

Sam and Evel met up in a bar

Evel had a contract for Snake River

Eight million bucks

He passed it round

Lost it later boozing, somebody said
Then accused Sam of taking it

Downhill from there
Sam said
Pale days passing unrecovered

Sam said
He and Evel had a deal

Sam could use the bike he built for Evel, for Sam’s own shows
Sam said, Evel called me from Jackie Gleason's, said
You can't use the bike

They sued, then settled, Sam’s ten grand
Dated June ’74

Sam said, Evel knew it was dud paper
But his fame was where everything
He touched, he wanted something of it, instead
Of time, a border bound by all the dead

*
Sam said
I'm just a little guy at the bottom of the food chain
I paint flames on bikes
I'm an artist
I don’t want to end up bagging Big Macs

Sam never told anybody about the money
The faint sparking to appease

*
Then Evel died

*
Le Bon found crowds tap
The unconscious

Sam said
I never minded about the dough

Hell, he said, Evel was a hero
Climbing in the rocket to clear Snake River

That day, walking through the parking lot
Pools of light spiralling

Evel wore the white jump suit, across his chest
The blue-X, harness effect, strung
With stars                    

You know the one



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