May 24, evening
Sooner or later,
they slipped him the big permission,
otherwise it was all about
the darkling thrush. He'd seen
starlings gather, knew their habits,
the posturing about Shakespearean
provenance, and knew there would be
waves that never made it, inching
away depleted, like an idle
breeze in the Virginia Creeper.
Not that it mattered, but he noticed
a smattering of German had become
de rigueur, a guise to be sported
like a white suit, with an air
of apparent ease. No idols
weeping blood this go-round,
no need to signal what condition
his condition was in, twitted
by those in the know, online friends
still swimming upstream, breathless,
clear as a dividend, culpable
as a bank in Greece, or maybe Iceland.
From this chair you can see Bulgaria,
get the gist of the Graduation Blues
while homing through a Pandora's box
of known tunes originating in the '80s
before most of you were born, or
just barely. Anyone got a wish
for the birthday boy, a mainline
from New Orleans to Jerusalem,
a prayer for anything extinct
before we are? How far back
do you want to go—just enough
to say we've been there, possibly,
or at least as high as the thirteenth floor.
We're true blue all the way, Chief,
not backing out or ruminating
finitude, watching the thick legs,
the sheen of the drippy firmament,
the slick upholstery like icing.
It was a veritable romance of lust
in the cheap seats, or in the alleys
where known users hawked their wares,
swapped poisons in Tokyo, fed fish.
Flinging down your shoddy gauntlet
isn’t going to clear the back room, señor.
There're pros in here tonight and, yeah,
it’s positively obvious heroes have
gone bad, attached like flayed meat
to cables that keep them poised,
swaying, lucid, above the vat of acid.
All those faces facing me in the name of art,
wrung by aura, doused with presence,
glimmering with words unspoken, breathing
the chair’s space, a communion offered
from one wrought countenance to another.
Drastic precision. Pointed eclipse of signs.
Each picture speaks, empties, fills again.
You're probably gonna keep it to yourself
as though expecting to live forever,
constrained to some outer suburb of hell,
or packing it off to a picturesque Welsh village
to rusticate with a gnome and glockenspiel.
Summon the governor, he needs the press,
tell him the next swindle has unfolded
and spent shells litter the lawn. With
a tattered sombrero we salute profuse
tumbleweeds decorating canyons
where nobody feels any pain,
shrugging off vibrant clarions.
Our claim is our undoing, friends,
gifted in the midst of this sacrifice,
this suffering for originary ethics,
an accounting we tally as any alien,
dispossessed and determined as sin,
might relay to his host family after
a day spent pushing a food cart
where lawyers gather gossip
before the institutional gates,
too tired to debate loyalty and exit.
If we get it done, it will be a miracle
and we'll walk again those dredged sands,
a whole year in the making. Untroubled
because eternity is what you make of it,
she eyes the tide from her favorite chair,
a vantage long ago surrendered, now gone.
Put the readers on full alert.
Share this screen.
©Donald Brown 2010/2013