City Of Brotherly Love
Blocks of reddish brownstones
and brownish red blocks
measure flat black streets
and white walks
where sooted particles,
urban eddies of them,
sweep the ankles
of wrapped figures
hustling between doors.
Doors facing streets
carrying faces pacing paved squares
connecting thoroughfares that vanish
in neighborhoods of vacant stares.
staggering through the winter gales
seeking themselves in store windows
proclaiming final` sales.
Within the buildings lives rush on
from floor to floor, reaffirming selves,
collecting ever more fine wares,
while out on the streets whooshing here and there come their shepherd Chevrolets, seals of the civilized, whether four doors or more, carrying bundled goods and bodies through this windowed world
where living is in the pane.
Floating, little touches the horizon,
clouds at the end of a silver sea,
sun that is only a pearl
sinking below a harvest field,
brown leaves hanging still upon the trees.
Walls of a stone chapel
silent in the air, waiting for the ice rain
to silver-coat its modest spire.
Colors dangle from spear shafts,
whose spearheads are driven deep into the earth,
as figures in chain mail pace back and forth
before the doors, awaiting word,
the final call from on high
that will send them far away.
In the morning flickering,
two dark figures cross the dawn,
shadows on their horses passing over frosted fields,
swords swinging at their sides.
Behind, a dark column hovers in the gloom,
then glides across the trampled land,
into the forest dark, soon swallowed by the trees.
Whispers spoke of their fate in distant lands,
which survivors alone could sing,
sing above to heaven, rising from their knees.
Among selves other and inner
in moments of candor
trip questions of ambition and bread,
and roads chosen and fallen
from those selves see they have tread.
Recall a fall red riven forest road.
Observe its run waste not at the horizon or bend,
but where yesterday’s leaves and pebbles blend
into the fog of the day before,
and see at your feet
where all would be clear,
in the fresh air of the Spring of our year,
a turning haze of patterns
in wood life and your life
leaving no lines,
just colors, pastels,
of inscrutable translucence.
From infancy images of pain:
a small boy snapped by a toy whip
wielded with watchful, fearful glee by his brother,
while I stared safely held by the hand
of my father in the park.
Or sitting bent-kneed
on our fourth floor window sill
when they told me I might fall
but did not move me,
and I fell into wonder who close
had I come, how close would they let me?
Schools of gray walls and cinderblock halls,
always-closing classroom doors,
the remove of large teachers,
signaling officially, inexorably,
without ever consulting me,
the end of infancy,
and I walked with the crowd
into the following room,
leaving my fun dumb
on the green grass fields,
still to the toll of the three o’clock bell.
Reading old letters
which are now old words
and never were
what I dreamed
and oh they were once so full
I find those words
did flow around and thrust
at all, then, I did know.
But knowing not
they were only words,
and people wind-blown reeds
leaning in half circles
round stems of inner seeds.
Real feelings reel here and now,
were reeling long ago, it’s true –
bright blinding Suns in crossing orbits –
yet no different if then I knew.