The bus is crowded. It's the morning rush.
I'm reading Francis Fergusson on how
"drama is an art which eventuates in words,
but which in its essence is more primitive."
A fight breaks out at Ninety-Sixth and Fifth
around the choked doors--some libidinal spark,
almost unnoticed, just a touch, a gaze
gone wrong, the whispered poison of a phrase--
and two men beat each other with their fists
without a word. Backward and down the stairwell
they plunge like one convulsive animal,
each broken from the moment's smeared surfaces
into a more perfect concentration
on how the other might be best undone,
after long years, the infant wish fulfilled
to remake, with bare hands, the rude flawed world.
Watching, I feel the rise of bliss and shame,
covert, defiant, envious of such freedom,
and then compose myself to better hear,
with the remoteness of a thing apart,
that hard birth, now expelled onto the street,
the slack language of flesh receiving blows--
in which consists "the tragic sense of life"
(the phrase, says Fergusson, is Unamuno's).