for John Milton

Their theaters cackle and bray, their carriages
clutter the streets: cockades, torches, liveries
clash. Philistine hearts
jocund and sublime, they smear their deals

gold on columns and cornices. Temples fume
with burning fat. The choicest girls
parade with kohl-ringed eyes and spangled thighs.
Let the poor creep into shadows: they offend.

The prisons teem. And one old man
sits in his doorway in a loose gray coat
letting sunlight lay its palms on his sightless eyes.
He’s seen too much. Kingdoms askew,