And they will hold our ruins as sacred spaces,
empty towns like empty vases
to fill with flowers and snaking vines
(new uses for what’s left behind)
They will not know our names, our creeds,
our times of joy, our times of need,
what circumstance led to our destruction,
nor will they ponder their own construction,
Where do echoes go when they die?
It is said that memory is just
an imperfect forgery;
why dare to remember anything?
why create the monsters
that haunt you?
Why cut them out of
whole cloth at the brush of an arm, at
the glint of metal and the smell of
these memories are infected wounds,
swollen, yellow and purple and
echoing, screaming and oozing
and they will never heal
when you pick at them.
it would be easier to think of him with horns,
claws, fangs, dangerous and
it would be easier if he was deformed;
skull like a wolf and
an appetite for human liver, but
no, no, he is not a demon.
He is standing as a man in his driveway,
saying hello in the morning and
chatting about the weather,
waxing his Buick on a sunny day.
And behind him
a trail of broken bodies,
sunk in the Cuyahoga,
It would be easier to think of him as a demon
but he is only your neighbor.
Where have we gone,
and what have we taken?
What oaths are honored,
what promise forsaken?
These skies are clear,
as all skies once were,
these fish are leaping,
these waters are pure.
So where have we gone
and what was the cost?
For all that we’ve gained,
how much have we lost?
What is this glance? It burns like
A stack of paper, singed edges and
Scraps of the past flowering out,
Fluttering and sailing,
Coasting through the parking lot.
What is it for?
Why drag up the past, why
Exhume it, gawk at the maggots and
Claim that it’s new?
Scrapyards of metal and men,
dangerous breaks and edges,
flakes of steel drifting, looking to lodge in an eye
and mountains of rust,
visible now, soon buried,
or fed back to the foundry.
More husks rot here now than ever,
more cuts-in-promise, more
shattering and shattered scraps,
more men buried beneath metal and more,
metal to bury them.
there’s a feeling like a fine china
to be looked at – never touched
for fear of breaking, something
you show visitors and dust carefully,
and another, not quite a feeling,
a knife sharpened and honed until it can cut anything:
sweetmeats, the toughest heart, brain and
so sharp it is brittle,
so sharp it shatters on first use.
I was once held in wait,
until all else was gone and used;
and the china becomes another plate,
and the razor-edge is dull.
When all sunlight is denied
the green thing, pale and prickled,
twists off in snaking yellow shoots
as it dies
dreaming of light
this world is run on the bare minimum –
meek analysts skittering about, avoiding the stare of
lounging bosses, dreading the call of
vacationing shareholders, ignoring their wives,
their wives ignoring their husbands in favor of
rimed margaritas, of poolboys, tennis,
this world is run on the bare minimum,
but cannot have this appearance,
must have everyone keeping busy,
make-do, make-work, no time to stop and reflect on
the limits of the bare minimum,
on how it is clothed and veiled,
on what it keeps us from.
it is all so flat here,
so lone and level, so lovely,
so dead and dying, such small
and twisted grasses and
nibbling jumping creatures,
flying swooping birds with
bloody beaks and objectionable cries.
it is all so flat here and
news rarely sparks and
when it does it catches into the grass,
then half the state is up in news.
I don’t know why people live here,
for some reason or another,
they are dead and dying,
small and twisted,
screaming their rage out over the plains
and hoping to be understood.