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We see

We see scorched, eclectic visions
We even invent religions
in the pound of this heat, this desert
He always looks for her, the dear one
but never seems to glimpse her for long,
never for long in this relentless, spectral town
He finds her substitutes instead, strong within
his head, within her sand-struck clouds

Among the plutocrats
fortunes of birth mean more
than her grinding efforts, her oblique talents
You’ll be fine, he said, but this was false
She wouldn’t be fine—she’d be remarkable
Anyone who attempts the outstanding
can expect only indifference firstly, and
at best, opposition and then, noxious, guileful blame

He settles here
for its rich urban life, its
thriving book sales, printers, foreign
agents, a plethora of visitors and trade
Here you could savor a cup of Turkish coffee,
buy an ivory crucifix from Florence,
a wool sweater from England,
or even tobacco from America

She couldn’t compete in brilliance
and so competed, instead, in adorability
When his brilliance was challenged
he’d become irascible, prickly
It’s remarkable, actually, the success achieved
given his inherent inability to work the system—
to flatter, to lie, to obfuscate
You’re nobody’s friend, he’d say, when you learn to play

Likeable, guileless, exuberant and strangely innocent,
a slight scar over her right eye reminds her
of the depths of human cruelty
Today she smells of sour whiskey
He sometimes finds that erotic
Don’t worry about me, she says,
I can ride the subways all day
There’s no one at home who waits for me

You’ll cry in the morning
You’ll grieve in the evening
But during the day,
when you work with us, you’ll laugh
One word sums up her mother: malice
She’d brag about it—
In her family nobody would ever
be missing anybody, ever

She’s a zinger—
Play with a zinger, old boy, and get stung
With his shadows came a brooding, a silence
When his sense of responsibility hits him
we can’t coax him out of himself
Cultural norms bore him and,
since the death of his mother,
he rarely sleeps at home

He touched his heel to the floor,
realized there was no longer any pain there
and knew he’d be back on the field soon
We make it past the savage war, we survive
We get brutal, savage revenge for our dead
Now we can sleep the sleep of the just
We hold onto the wind—
to let go is to die

 

 

-April 5, 2014-