I sit at a table riddled with worm holes,
As manufactured as the chained and slashed
Surface on which I write, burn marks
Sealed in polyurethane gloss, all for
A borrowed twilight, an impermanence
Enshrined for eternity, or as near it
As artifice can come, fuzz-box guitar
Scratching through the conditioned air.
Outside, the latest mercury vapor lamps
Dressed up gassy, the rhythmic flicker
Punctuating the entrance, everywhere
Authenticity for sale, at a premium.
I examine my coffee, dubiously.
Is it possible to add anything
to a life, to ensure no alley
is left unexplored, no mystery
unexplained, no new device,
no diversion, no distraction
to hurry us along toward
the end of it all, the last
deceit, the final jest?
Shall we die wishing for one more
object, a last lunch, an unread memo?
Shall we panic at the end, unready,
as if no one had told us about this?
Out in the country
Even the pigeons
Know your name
Ah, we say, what a life!
and yet …
We are the heirs of discontent
we carry all colors among us
to their inevitable conclusion
Our eyes are rising swiftly
under an aging sun
What nourished our forebears
we find merely annoying
All those Bible Prophets mute
as sacks of sand
To build dikes against
a flood which never comes
and yet …
here we stand
precisely in their footpads
Sitting at the changing tide
Beside the ancient harbor
Waves already lapping our feet