Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

All Roads Lead to Rome

Baudicia will tell you this about civilization:
It happens to the body, first the women
Experience the effort to civilize
Where the glory of the empire reaches in
And hammers down and whips away
nothing is left to her own devices,
Then, as if that isn't enough, the men
Must help or die - their bodies
Will be civilized, too;
Then it keeps happening over and over
Until no one even remembers what
Was before, was it even possible
To stand alone in the forest
And feel the shape of destiny guided
By the wind in the trees, the fish swimming
Up the rivers, trapped in the weirs and plums
Dropping in early autumn

This is the story of Adam and Eve
Where the apple of knowledge was a metaphor
For the way it always begins upon a body
Inside a body, and who controls the body
Before it was a paradise on earth

When the braceros came north to work American farms
They were deloused in sheep vats, fully immersed
In ddt. Burned with it. They screamed in pain
When the lettuce and strawberries were more
Valuable than human spines

Many of the children don't remember
How it all started.
It hurts too much to tell them
How we got to here.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Sonnet #211

They call the place Cathedral Rock
The Balcones Fault rises to a balcony
A large bluff, they say it was holy
Where ceremonials were held, we walked
A long trail, the live oaks were green
New growth in buds and dead leaves
Drifting like autumn, the quiet breathes
In the space between hills where mean
City noises do not reach, where even birds
Their music and cicada songs drift away
The silence made by hills where the word
Itself becomes a memory and the sway
Of leaves descending holds the language
That makes whole, without majesterial baggage

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sonnet #210

All the steps it took for one day's weather
A pretty day, a cool breeze blowing, light heat,
Was made at the dawn of time where tethers
broke and all the cosmos scattered in a heartbeat
For millenia, the atoms clumped and scattered
Until a solar star emerged slowly among the scores
And emerging rock with life resilient and battered
Kingdoms rose upon the bones of dinosaurs
And of the days, as momentum spins the rocks
Of endless tiny patches among these galaxies
A little green where we, in smallness, walk
A pretty day, a perfect day, a dawn so perfectly
It's all connected, hurricanes become a breeze
Supernovas push at matter rustling leaves

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Sonnet #209

Tyger, tyger die afright in the
headlights of the cars, the cops who shoot
at boys from fear will quiver in their boots
With every flicker of your growling teeth
If fear can kill a child, it can kill a king
Slayer of giants, kidnapped from temples
Fed hamburger meat in some crowded rental
Enough is enough and the doorbell rings
All the bolts click free, Run! You, gorgeous!
Run into the forest, the city is all trees
All useless beasts more curious than nervous
Until the headlights come; the people see,
Shoot to kill, and brag forever -- Tyger, Tyger,
Stolen twice: They only get to hunt you here.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Sonnet #208

"I've come from the future," he said
He sat down at my table in a rush
"We need to talk," he said. I shook my head
"I can tell you the future already, so hush
and don't ruin it for me. We will all die.
All of us will die. It will be fast or slow
or in a crowd, perhaps, afraid. We try
to live, but it ends. It always ends. So,
in between then and now, we do what we can
to make the world a better place, make babies
Teach them to do better, and try to make a plan
In case things don't get better. Whatever you say to me
doesn't matter," I said. "Have a drink and go home."
He nodded. "Death, they say: All roads lead to Rome."