What Rough Beasties, sonnets 4 & 5

Behold, the double whammy:

IV. Sabotage filtered through The Lake Isle of Innisfree
(Ill Communication, 1994)

The sirened car guns
              through the suburbs

against a dizzy
              skyline, its tires

still spinning as the boys
              leap out to the curb.

Mike D rolls in the grass
              as though on fire

then kicks down a gate
              as Ad-Rock wails (I can’t stand

it…) Authorized by fake
              70s mustaches,

they scale buildings,
              leap over walls, land

on the pavements grey
              with their wigs & sunglasses

still perfectly aligned,
              all Starsky & Hutch.

As the purple glow
              of the mid-day sky

blazes between buildings,
              these MCs & cops must

know in their deep heart’s core
              that they need to arise

& flow now, because there’ll always be,
              in this old town,

more beats & more bad guys
              to throw down.


V. Intergalactic filtered through The Second Coming
(Hello Nasty, 1998)

The shot of the robot
              plunging past a fleet

of pointillist stars quickly
              cuts to the streets,

a kimonoed woman
              covering the O

of her mouth. When the beat
              starts, the heroes—

power plant suits
              with bright yellow nuclear

waste gloves & goggles—
              fast forward

through Tokyo as they dance
              (it’s more like stop-

time, pseudo-karate)
              & even the robot

can’t help but gyrate.
              There’s no Sphinx but

a giant squid-headed
              monster slouching

toward the city. Its kick drains the life
              from the robot’s

eyes. But when music revives him,
              the robot slings

the squid into power lines.
               The city’s safe—Tokyo’s center holds

for now—as the monster
              sizzles in volts.

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