Martin Wong
Firefly Evening


Firefly Evening:

Song of the crickets calling their lovers home

down in the water glittering insect cities pass

into night. Deer stops to look back then fades

away. Slow motion tumble thru space.

Time sings like a shattered mirror in the

rain. Dawn comes shining clean again.

Homeward the stranger returns:

old train chug along between yellow autumn

hills past barns + little farmhouses. Air

ringing clear in the morning. An avalanche

of leaves glimmering orange + black.

Dick + Jane wake at granma’s house +

suddenly their real! Tip over a pitcher of

cream + go running off into the leaves giggling

as they go… kids all down at the pond. From

dark within its depths irredescent bubbles

rize clicking like dirty pearls among the

droning dragon flies + the irredescence

of the bubbles is the irredescence of their

wings. Something in the wind: beneath

the dead apple tree up on the hill: heap of

old apples rotting to cider mush + maggots.

Beautiful little girl in lace + black velvet

stops with her pony to feed on it. Sun

catch her hair in a blinding swirl as she

kneels laffing in the sweet slime of decay.

School bell rings in the distance but no

one comes. Still the kids drift lingering in

their autumn dream.

Twilight in the parlor immutably vast:

potted palms. Persian carpets. Italian vistas

+ Chinese acrobats, all gathering dust

in the pendulum silence. Only the clock

tolls out the passing of time. Who could ever

know the strange dramas that’ve been

played out within these cobweb mirrors:

the poisoned fantasies the meaningless

intrigues that flicker + flare in contorted

pantomime. No one ever comes here any

more. The governess was roasted twitching

in her own fat. The rest all died of boredom

once some kids set out to explore it, tying

themselves together like mountain climbers,

bringing along an ample supply of peanut

butter + jelly sandwiches… but they

never returned. Even now they could be

clawing away from within the mirrors

trying to shatter the silence with their


Meanwhile down at the chapel a new mass

is being held tonight. Old church siezed

+ ravaged by a dark animal innocence as

massive rhythums heave echo + roll into

infinity. Thru teeming swarms of life

howling young savages circle wide

horizons calling up the holy ghost with

rams horns, conche shells + pounding

human feet…. a crown of thorns!

Blood of the lamb!

Could already feel eternity descending

like a ton of old velvet in the smoky

darkness. + oblivions child: dancing

naked upon the blood soaked alter, looks

up into the lurid undulations of an ameboid

galaxie, spinning off in a hypnotic frenzy

tears out her heart + feeds on it raw.

+ in the glow of the transfiguration, you

look down only to discover you’re covered

with dust. Bodies dancing in the vague

flicker lights of the candels become paper,

then break up in fragments + flutter away.

Then walls pull away. The floor pulls away.

Time pulls away + the last spark fades like

a star in this pit of night….

“I’m afraid the old family freakshow just isnt

what it used to be. I hardly ever go there

anymore its deteriorated so. Ever since

granfather sold out to the whitney’s its

been down hill all the way.”

Warm currents of organ music –

Cold smell of decay –

Rare birds stalking the shadows of an

abandoned stage set: persian columns

illuminated from deep within by pickled

specimins suspended in a weightless primor-

dial fluid: embrios + freaks…unnamed

creatures from the bottom of the sea….

strange parasites + life forms as yet

unknown…all waiting in darkness

hovering like silent frozen planets.

Dirty bursts of blood:

peacock wrenched to the ground.

Distant hoots + howls rize thru the jungle

as the children descend on the carcass

clawing away at it with cries of mangled

depravity: t-shirts smeared with human

grease, mouths dripping animal lust.

Joints popping. Feathers trampled. Kid sit

sucking on bone marrow….

a night of insects strangly


constellation of dancers metamorphosizing

in fluid darkness: their bodies speaking in

cryptic forms of a lost code “+ now before we

leave off for a 5 minute break….”

“No! Let them play till they drop!”

48 hours later lead singer but a shriveled

corpse wretching up the last shreds of a

departing spirit. Mouth gapes open with

a croak. Brain hits the floor like a sack of

slugs. “Quick! Get him some water!”

Somebody toss a glass full + it shorts out

the system in a crack of blue.

“Ever wake in the morning + everything’s

strange, like you never been there before?

Well that’s l.a. … it’s like waking up into

daytime television with no way out. I swear

it’s a real trip, a genuine plastic jungle


+ suddenly the ground caves in beneath

him pulling him under till at last….

reaching down thru the tangled

roots he embrace his belovid Anne Marie.

rize + shine!

Waves thru the cypress trees. The willow’s

weep! Old newspapers + candy wrappers

tumble on down in a wirlwind of dust as

Sailor John go running down the night

with Ann Marie in his arms: dreams

billowing out behind them as they dissapear

down the tracks, mouldy pieces of Ann

Marie scattered along the way.

+ come the dawn…memories fall like

dried rosepetals, mingling with feathers

in the blood stained grass….

            “Some party!”

            MW May 11 1968 Arcata



Martin Wong, Firefly Evening, 1968, Ink on paper scroll, 210,8 x 38,4cm, Courtesy of the Martin Wong Foundation and P.P.O.W., New York and Galerie Buchholz