City in a Garden: Poem

(So, here’s the poem that I wrote for the Juggler, only this is the version that I edited afterwards.  I liked the original, but I think it needed some updating, so I thought I’d post the new version here for anyone who wanted to see it.  Plus I had a busy day and this might have to count for my daily blog.  Eep.)


I like sunshine on street corners

And the glare of urban blooms in crayon-box colors

Flashing defiance to gray grass and gunmetal grime,

            pulling cheap obscenities from lipsticked mouths,

                        pushing yellow-checked beasts into battle with neon-white men

                                    and jeering hands.   

I worship the windows,

Bejeweled in vault arches with blustery locks,

            the irises gilt Kremlin of Mint-greens and golds

                        and foul reds winking, victors flaunting starry warspoils of Eastern dominion,

                                    suffering only the name and Time’s fingers unbloodied,  

Closing steel lashes at dusk

on hard-booted feet making freckles in evening slush,

on teardrops sterilizing blacklung reservoirs in the corners of gutters,

                        sewers gaped to swallow trench-coats and cold-popping death notes 

and husks of old smoke-eyed dodgers flicking ash

across Capone’s eroding seeds.

I breath in the chill off the waters,

Gray-blue titans sunk deep into the iron earth

            running icy around the ankles of old White ghosts

                        and Technicolor giants rolling clenched hearts into clouds,

                                    weaving through monogrammed ribs black and gold like faded jazz

                                                and flowing sick-green in drunkards’ glass eyes. 

I bow to the gridlines,

The vast game of checkers hedged with glassy rows

            and pieces that spit on tiny scalding bodies spotting steam marble-prints,

                        spurt feverish Mozart and shoot steel rainbows on tar,

                                    erupt fizzing star-bombs and white-pebble pockmarks and cries of

Southern victory and Northern defeat,

flicker on off on like molten streams gurgling from the


To this Heart mine is owed,

The great gleaming God,

The steel tyrant,

            fervid dreams twice surpassed

                        but not broken,  

Coke-black shimmered with an old ages’ burnish like reflections of Fire,

                        of steel tubes belching lava from stone treetops,

                                    of the New World’s wonders and metal descendents,  

                                                of the wilds of the prairie and its green teeth attacking—

But the God beats back the hedges

and the prairie’s posh shears

                        and the city grows wild and tall,

                                    a giant with scraggly hair shored against the raging long grasses, 

And its crooked mouth smiles.

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