Inner Song While Watching a Square Dance

CALICO, cantle, scythe and snath,
Meadow, mountain, river path,
Swing on your corner like swingin’ on a gate,
Now to your own if you’re not too late,
The blood of you,
The blood of you
In every state:
Blood of your temple, wrist and thigh
Coursing imperceptibly
Wherever they stop at a filling station,
Wherever they beg to renew a note,
Wherever the sundown makes you love
And the new moon grips your throat.
Docie-doe your lipstick,
Swing your corner la-dee,
Promenade your cigarette
And swing her twice around!
Your Uncle Bill, he drove a drill
In the Moon Anchor mine in Cripple Creek,
Grandpa Amos scraped the hull
Of a windjammer three barnacles thick...
Promenade, O promenade,
Oregon and Everglade . . .
Agatha’s shoes had toes of brass
That scuffed the sage in a mountain pass,
Aunt Sophronia, Mohawk Valley,
Uncle Pedro, Sacramento,
Uncle Horace, Broad and Wall,
Where sound conservative sparrows fall
On poor Aunt Cecil who fell in love
With a man who sold her a citrus grove,
And Barbara Jean and Shirley Mae
Were Flo and Polly yesterday,
(In the gloaming, O my darling . . . )
Flo and Polly yesterday,
Yesterday and yesterday,
Flavia, Persephone,
Eve and Lilith yesterday . . .
Buffalo gals will you come out tonight,
In the ilex grove,
In the lotos light,
Buffalo gals will you come out tonight
And stain your breasts with grape!
And the dance goes on
And the dance goes on,
The centuries go bare,
Go bare
As the color of wood where the paint is off
In a mountain town all falling down,
And they don’t remember who it was
Put bleeding heart on the hose-cart hubs
For the fire parade, and briar rose,
Nobody knows and nobody knows
The pinch of parfleche moccasins
The night the bison hunt begins,
Or how it smells to trim a wick
Or how it feels to dust a lick
Of salt with the wing of a dappled hawk,
But around the ring you walk, walk, walk,
And you skip, skip, skip,
And you run, run, run,
And your permanent wave is melting down
And your white gardenia’s edging brown,
One little two little three little injuns . . .
White gardenia edging brown,
Pale Comanches in the moonlight,
Pinto ponies in the moonlight,
Four little five little six little injuns . ..
Hurry, take my hand!
One little two little three little injuns .. .
Hurry, take my hand!
The white gardenia will not stay,
Her feet are far-off clover hay,
The gear-shift knob that moulds her palm
Is long away,
Is long away,
Her hair is wind, her hair is gay,
He swings her twice around:
The phosphor of the ranges feels The juice of cornlands in her heels,
Her throat has sung the seas apart
And all the hills are in her heart,
All the cities, every state . . .
Now to your own if you’re not too late . . .
And the dance goes on
And the blood goes on
Till the constellations burn you down,
And O it’s dark from here to town.