Here lies the world,
In a forlorn state of synthesis
Struggling, tearing at the windows
All along a blackened street
In the heart of the harbor town,
Downtown where the wind blows
Through the vacant lots and empty alleys
And whistles at the doors of fortune tellers,
Waking up the corner sleepers
And painting the night with ecstasy
In all shades of purple.
The midnight city crawling with bursting energy,
Clocking minutes and miles and hours
From a million feet above
Where the sky high diamond fowl
Wander and circle, waiting
For the abandonment of reason and progress.
Peace, though it seems far away,
Whispers to us like the dynamite of years gone by
And the waves lapping at the ocean shore
Carry with them regrets heaped upon failures
Broken with the regressing moon’s tides.
Here lies your past,
It is wrapped in the ebony night and waiting
For a spark of kindling to revitalize distant memories.
Every walk, every wave, every piece of sand
Falling through the fingers of the mind
Is caught in its all-knowing embrace, but it chokes,
Choking the life out of the commuters
On the drab highway laid out before them
Through the town where they grew up so long ago
In the houses where they sat reading Boethius
Staring at the dripping rain on the windowpanes.
My fair bride! How green are the trees in your valleys
Where the world is shook by earthquakes and hail
And acid rain falls like fire from above the clouds,
Crimson peeking out from the darkened angry sphere
Where celestial birds and angels crash into airplanes,
Scattering their ashes out over the Adriatic
On nights like tonight.
And still on the marching soldiers go
Towards the apex of their conflicts and their inner wars,
Stopping not to smell the flowers that grow so suspiciously
Underfoot of the industrial machines.
Here lies the world,
A sorry sight but true, in all its glistening decay
Spread out on a canvas like so many gleaming crystals
Of truth and aesthetic privilege where any painter
May tinker and destroy and rebuild and be an architect
Of progress in the west, the land of freedom.
And the recitation of forgotten poems around bonfires
Lit by the latest volumes of periodical academic raving
Will rise up and waft toward the nostrils
Of the muses and gods of art and snobbery,
Where they make their home in ivory castles.
Broken images still reflect the sun,
The dying celestial orb which fires forth heat
Day after day burning up the cities below
With the apocalyptic visions of a dying man
And the speed of gravely chariots carrying away
The soul of the forgotten man
Who for years sat on the street corner
And counted sheep and moons and lonely coins
Playing the stringed instruments of his soul
And waiting for a friend to pass in the night
Like a ship destined for the pearly sea.
Here lies a tombstone,
A heaping pyre to the patient longings
Of our generation, constrained by temptation.
We have broken down walls and doors and walls again
Pursuing gates to perfect worlds
Which underfoot were seen through a sea of shimmering glass,
Where the kaleidoscopes touched the sky
And astronomy failed for lack of a more deified rule
By which to govern the passing of the nighttime
High above the sleeping valleys and burning towns,
Fire, fire on the horizon, running ever away from the river.
Paradise was lost today and it was typically
Buried in a rich man’s grave by the side of a path
That no one will ever walk down again
Or turn from their meanderings to consider,
Where it diverges in the wood from the beaten track
And chooses instead to droop and swoop down from
The mountain, that guardian far above us,
Giving life to the river and patience to the meadows.
Larks sing there, waiting for the hangings
That burn the night sky with screams in the dark
So thick that for miles they can be felt crawling on your skin.
Here lies the world,
An emerald mess illuminated by a single low-hanging star
From its perch over the land, and brightened by its reaches
Where it stems and stands alone for all to see,
Patiently reaching down its light to the edges of the faded map.
Sometimes when we feel ourselves fading and growing dim
We drive out in the rain and sit for hours
Looking at the river swell and then overcome its banks,
And wish we were the pink –laden trees on its shores
So that we too could weather the storm
And be better for the pounding refrain.