Friday, August 4, 2017

The Fall of Cities: Decimation

From a poetry workshop Ekphrasis: Writing in Response to Art with Caylin Capra-Thomas (the first two stanzas my conversation with a collage by Sherry O'Neill; the third and fourth stanzas a coda inspired by Salvador Dalí's "The Burning Giraffe")

     The Fall of Cities

You are the memory of a city,
Sherry O'Neill
dark streets below windows
disclosing artificial light,
the minimalist image
of a warm shelter, murky roads
below the seeming glow
of spaces. You are vague,
the way all urban sprawl
ignores the blaze of creativity.
A perfect smoke-dream
of reality, amorphous blank walls
upon which stories flashed
are quiet, neutral, dimming,
all but one orange skylight,
one line illumined upward,
there a small gray square,
opaque, curtained, closed.

I am the image of the fall
of cities, no growth
here, no upward thrust.
I am the eyes and voice
Sherry O'Neill
of terror, knowing how
sequential blinking lights will
signal tragedy, impending storms,
devastation. Moving quickly,
mid-rise shadows flash by,
rapid slide show out of synch,
the faint idea of a living world.
What was, now disappearing,
openings becoming small
and smaller, the dark, deep
mass below already poisoning
orange light of sun's reflection.

            Decimation
Salvador Dalí: The Burning Giraffe

They shriek a dance of grief,
all bounty now empty drawers,
sharp knives draining energy
from backbone, strength,
hands reaching in despair.

Like prehistoric animals we are
destroyed, our meteors now
politics and war, the Mother Dance
grown skeletal, depleted.
Civilization gone.


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