We keep Ezra Pound in a cage and charge the suckers in the crowd five bucks a head to file silently past and watch with slack jaws and milky eyes as the old man squats, naked, bestial and recites endlessly from the Cantos .
Toback leans in close to me, his shoulders descending from his neck as if a lead weight were hanging on them, sighs without remorse and says: "You take too much." I let my hand slide down the cool of metal that describes the bars that hold the old beast sternly in place. Somewhere, just beyond my understanding, I ache.
Occasionally someone will try to speak to the old poet and he will growl. The noise, guttural and raw rises from his throat and the crowd pauses. They wonder if this is the beginning of some new poem. Perhaps a sonnet. Perhaps a foray into postmodernism. They've never read Moby Dick.
Pound squints his eyes at them. They are eyes filled with dark light and bad intentions. Those eyes speak of things best not considered. They speak of ovens and showers and badly skewed rhymes.
A small boy, his hair askew, breaks from his mothers grasp, runs to the cage and shoots his tiny ballad fist between the bars. Ezra Pound stops and move toward the child. At first it seems that he will attack. But then, and with much portent, Pound gives the boy his annotated copy of The Wasteland and a few worn crayons.