Somewhere a Lost City

 

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re still awaiting word.

      Please be patient!”

 

      The ragged man reselling his goods

      The woman sucking her nails

      The child on the platform weary,

             rocking

 

                                 tin drums in the echoing

             corridors of the underground

 

       The people with faces like flowers in a vase of receding water

 

             —the rioting lights of Times Square

             —the nauseous tremors of the subway

                                                            with nervous tick

 

             —the sandwiches left half-consumed

             —the scalding coffee abandoned to cool and expire

                                                            on a table’s edge

             —the bagel smeared grotesquely with cream cheese

 

       The eyes upon you

             masturbate to your impression

             or         dislike you because

             or         see all they are and are not

             The people you’ll never meet, never love, never

                          see expire

             Hidden catacombs of thought

 

                    —pigeons flying somewhere                                             warmer

                    —footprints across crushed cardboard and cigarettes

                    —trashcans resigned to their scattered innards before them

 

             The rush to get somewhere and nowhere

                    for someone and nobody

             All the tired eye sockets, like bruises on week old fruit; heads of hair

                    wilted, and turned gray

 

       The taxi driver who talks himself out of loneliness

 

                    —a mother arguing with a daughter on the subway for everyone

                                                               to hear with silent distaste

 

                    —days wearing out like neglected pistons

                    —mornings when you can’t believe the face in the mirror

 

             The times you vow never to do this

                    again

 

                          The broken resolutions, forgotten promises

 

                          The women— the women!— who               slip by

 

                          Times       you say you’ll move away somewhere           warmer

 

                                           remember:

 

                                                           Colorado skyline, the Grand Canyon

                                                 Paris, Nice, Arles

                                                 the emerald forests of Klimt’s                   delight

                                                       (trees planted side by side like upright toothpicks)

                                                 the orange and pink rooftops of               (Florence)

                                                 the diamond beaches of                           (              )

                                                       (with a rainbow array of fish

                                                                like a handful of children’s trinkets)

 

                    —papers and cans rolling in the wind

                          sweeping along a time-worn current

 

                                                       Car horns and alarms

                                                                        Sirens              the sudden anxiety

                                                                                       of an             ambulance

                                                                                                              police car

                                                                                                           or firetruck

 

 

                                                       Sparklers and firecrackers

                                                                       hissing to death

                                                                                                         in Chinatown

 

                                                 Shadows of the evening

                                                         creeping                                       down telephone poles

 

                                                                      into

                                                                      gloaming

 

                                                                                       a propagation of bright,

                                                                                                                  illusive lights

 

                                                                                          tiny islands             blinking

 

 

                                                                                                                         in the dark

 

                                                                  somewhere—

                                                                                        the lost city

                                                                                                     of our prenatal fantasy

                                                                                                                       our darkness

 

 

                                                                              the crackle of rain                                 mist

                                                                                      in the pre-dawn grayness

                                                                                           that obscures everything

 

                                                                                                                 and makes us laugh

                                                                                                                               one more time

 

                                                                                                                        to be children

 
 

 

Appeared in FIRE: No. 26 (Oxford, UK), In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself Vol. 6 (MW Enterprises, Raleigh, NC), Looking Forward, Looking Back: Canonical Poetry and the Contemporary Response (PulpLit Press, Cambridge, MA), Under the Influence of Art (Portland, OR)



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