from This Broken Symmetry

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This flicker-shimmer in the cave’s wide dark: a figure lifts,
The little tramp born days before the Fuhrer, dead ringer
In The Great Dictator; though now in Modern Times, Simone,

Entranced, watches Chaplin, frenetic on the assembly line,
Wrench tight the speeding widgets as they madly pass apace.
And now he’s riding the conveyor, cog born to implement

The single feature of his job inside the great machine until
He’s swallowed down this hungry one of many rote mouths
Into the gear works, one of the yield, wheels within wheels

Ingesting him then reversing, spewing him back out again
Along the belt onto factory floor, so he sees everywhere
Only bolts to tighten on bodies, faces—human material,

Fleshly commodity. She leaves the theatre. Paris, summer.
Before Anschluss, Berchtesgaden. Before a crooked cross
Hangs inside the keyhole parabola of the Arc de Triomphe…

“Only Chaplin understands the worker’s plight in our time,
Civilization broken, uprooted, with the spirituality of work,
Good broken, scattered, hell itself nothing but false infinity.”

The counter mechanism? The mustard seed, least of seeds,
Rising upward by consuming itself, “irresistibly ascending,
Attaining light”—analogy that makes this world, darkly,

In another Image—as the Great One swirls balloon globes
In his arms, and the overture wends ahead, and he dances,
Dancer, dance, around the flat blank country of the screen…