“Hour of the Wolf” by John Sullivan 

Hour of the Wolf

by John Sullivan


triage in Seattle at Broadway & Pine,

 2nd night of the WTO (1999)


at 3 AM – a dying time for the people   so a lot do die    this hour

like a custom      so it’s said: like hard time in the cry room   for little baby Who’s

like a hot wire    buried in the wound     of all them little Who’s


(and so, the Why-so Big Who crawls into bed

with dying creatures:  sin-eater  raven  empty

eyeless   Big Who says “I’ll see you later,”

Big Who says, “look backward, look ahead, look

away,”  Big Who also says, “your ghost is only

yours, so what’s the rub-a-dub, and why

you all so goddamn guileless?”)


old man, dark-skin     cold-cold rain falls down

on an old man     face-down     in the street

shock grenades     dumpster barricades full of flame

tear gas drift   into neighborhoods     tight around

the little Who’s throat   coughs hard    deep   choking on it


(policia = heroina    sprayed onto a stucco

wall in Barcelona   back-a-days, the Big Who

sprayed me, shot me up with: What?  With What?

“And so we all evolve alone,” or so says the

Big Bad Who)


dark-skin old man    drops like a rock   like a rubber

bullet hits him    whoosh of gas   final-flat-wallop

sharp ooof!   of breath    hits an old man   right above

his right   eye     throbs it   does    (probably)

a deep gash above his right eye, throbs    (probably)

drops him down, prone    (probably)    crawls, he   sure, he tries   (probably)

toward sanctuary    at the bus stop


(The Big Who says “my art infects your life,

so suck it up” – that voice of The Big Who,

all up in my head   your head

our head(s), together    when

the Big Who says move it, you gotta’ go

do it, Big Who says “Move!”  or Big Who’s

gonna’ hurt you bad     hurt you bad

lay a long-time hurt-you-bad on you)




two girls     one dark-skin, too      one less-so, maybe white

maybe not    drag the old man    dark-skin gash   above his right eye

throbs (probably)    flat knocked-out (maybe)    drag the old man onto

a bus stop bench   to sanctuary   (at Broadway & Pine)


one girl pulls off her sweater     props    his head on her sweater    for sanctuary

from the cold-cold rain     the other girl     covers him up   with her coat, covers him

up     in the cold-cold rain    with her coat    for sanctuary    and turn, they do

together    jump back    into Broadway    into  flash gust     deep slash    of grief

this anger night      to fight The Cops    again


(“Now I see you, again,“ says the Big Who

to me, says the Big Who, to you.

“Now, I see,” says the Big Bad Who,

“but I lie a lot, too.  It’s what I do.

I’ll see you later on, again,”

says the Big Who to me,

says the Big Bad Who to you.)


The Cops!  The Cops!   squads    of feet, flying    of boots     shouting, battle-bats

gizmos of pure pain    and Big Creature will to use them     right!      in Houston

New York City    Jakarta      Moscow     Beijing     Minsk     L.A.   Seattle    D.C.

in Barcelona, Spain


so what little Who would not run when The Cops say: Stop?


or what little Who, instead, juts her jaw      stares straight ahead       straight at The Cops,

says: Bring It!


(“ain’t no cold-cold grave

gonna’ hold my body down,”

“in your dreams,” says the Big Who,

again, straight up, to the little)


or what little Who else says    no mas     says    scare me   you may –    you do

in fact  –  but another little Who is here   to freeze   to shiver     to wait

for the big hit    in fear?    in mad resistance?    to wait for what the little Who

never wants to get     it ain’t no    gift at all     to wrangle    inside and out

little Who with little Who   with other little Who’s


and yet, another little Who says, yet again: “O-please don’t let my ghost survive me,

do            not”


(so pray, now, maybe so

so pray, now, for sure-O

so pray, now: to some kinda’ Who-so-ever?

and ever, for little Who?  all the little

Who’s?   and Why-so?)


Listen!  Listen up!     The Po-Lice make a great roar    square jaw

heavy brutal teeth     a hell-gate unto     Po-Lice beat their bats

on their shields      make a roar      no words: just big thick hard sound

like sharp rock    cracks against     no relief     against your head     big fear?

big resistance?    up in your head      club you back – club you down   The Cops

unleash a great   tribal   roar: their boom-boom-boom cuts open

night    and grief


(Big Who’s gonna’ tell you,

Big Who’s gonna’ tell you,

when Big Who says move it,

you best go do it:

“I’ll see you later,

I’ll see ya’all, once

again,” so says the Big Bad Who)


    © John Sullivan 


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