The street where I live is dull and sullen.
There is an eternal night about its sidewalk,
Echoing from its drawn, frayed curtains.
In the summer it smells strongly of decay.
In the fall of decline, in the winter of despair,
And even in the Spring of some obscene awakening—
Not a poetic birth—more a clandestine abortion.
The city where I live is my street writ large,
In endless, unimaginative, ill-conceived regularity,
The aesthetics of boredom recorded on parchment of stone.
And my city’s people tread the cat-infested alleys,
Pick their way through the fly-infected garbage cans, trudge the circuitous paths from nowhere to nowhere –
Not a poetic life – more a clandestine retreat.
Last night the first snow fell in white innocence,
A hesitant flutter at first, a confident crusade in the end,
A righteous torrent, misplaced and yet welcomed, revered by me.
Its protective arms embraced the rotting hulk
And traced childish patterns in the nooks and crannies,
Never fearing where it flew, nor into whose window –
If not a poetic birth, at least a poetic promise.
This morning I walked the street on which I live.
The soot had stolen the liquid sheen.
Unnamed steps in the night had defiled the unborn dawn.
Even the snow was decaying: The blood of the city
Had melted the will of the virgin to slush by its heat.
Sin shone through the ruptured cover –
Not a poetic death – more a death of poetics.