My heart’s a stranger now to what
Is left, the peeling paint, each rut
Where once was order, color, life,
But now seems filled with futile strife.
Small streets within an angled space
Where roofs pushed down on us at night,
For all was waiting to ignite.
Lace tracery of leaves through light
Inspired thoughts so sharp and tight,
I often wish we could repeat
That little life where we once were
Intent to run each narrow street,
Laughing and loving, causing stir,
Past tiny stores where kindly clerks
Were remnants of a better time,
Away from all the long-haired jerks
We knew within that early clime.
To me this is the way it seemed —
Dancing in rings, avoiding stings,
We acted out what we had dreamed.
So few are left, none can attest
To any of these fragile things.
Most nights I walk. Oh, if I could
Instead laze on a dappled lawn,
Go running through a shadowed wood
Or walk by wine-dark waves at dawn.
But no, in dreams I tread the streets,
My convoluted search expressed
In double turns, I hear the bleats
Of horns. The screeching tires test
Their volume, thwart me as they roll.
Oh light and warmth, that lost place where
I might still change the awful whole
Of noise, confusion, the cold stare
Of gargoyles in their awful turning,
Causing a tide of hot tears, burning.
Desperate to get there, while still knowing
I might not, I still keep going.
You’re an illusionist with tricks to spare.
A rabbit snuggles in your vest, each card
Fanned out across the table signals where
The next will fall, while you distract with loud
And charming chatter, and a guileless stare.
Your sleek and polished manner, glib and hard,
Accompanies each graceful gesture there —
You drink in all the accolades allowed.
Confusing others is a strange affair.
In this, you’ve proved that you are avante garde.
Though all who view your act soon get a scare
From every plot and nuance you’ve allowed.
Like silken scarves, these cloud about your bare
Intent. The truth is hard; you disregard
It. If unveiled, that honesty, so rare,
Is muddled and forgotten. You’re unbowed.