Nothing Short

They swallowed tacks

and burst their bubble.

It came out of their eardrums

triumphant like a flag

out of the engine oil and iron beams

that gnawed into the rocks.

The smell of blood and dead leaves,

of piss and copper, the old booths 

that disappeared in time,

the phones that never worked;

they rang and told the thirteenth floor

that it had been promoted.

Those angry men with their cheap shirts

the women with their twisted toes

the children that were playing there

the square was loud and thorny.

It came in on their voices

and they said it would not be wrong

to gallivant around the globe

with nothing but a padlock

that lets the slaves unite.

Before holes in the street appeared

the money started rolling in

the social justice came to be

and silver turned to yellow.

I liked that spot, and I still do

but best I do not go there.

It came up from some dried up well

it came into the smoggy air

beside the ageing kiosks

that smelled of anise gum.

The bigger hummingirls who knew 

it wouldn’t lead into tomorrow

but still waited in line,

like mother had foreseen,

to eat some ground asbestos

and brighten their palette.

(She stabbed a pen into their skin

to write them as they should have been.)

My real friends only passed through there

except for two, but not for long

the girl abducted by princesses

the boy was sacrificed to God

and me the faithless pleb

it’s best I do not go there.

It isn’t a nice place today

my wife she broke both ankles there

and snakes arose and steered the ship

the pistons slid on fang and spit

and it was night on a cursed boat

that couldn’t reach a morning.

It came after the ending passed

in dreams so clear and simple

that tune you can’t remember

although you know there was a tune

mourning the olden done.

You either pay with hope or time;

I chose to do the former

and bought a rainy peace

where I can spend my time instead.

Yet that old tune is always there,

from phones that never worked,

it’s humming in the iron beams

not far in space and time;

I loved that spot, and I still do

but I will not go back there.

It crawled around the ruins and sank

infected tried and rank it was,

that swan song meant for me.

But if you give them time,

for good or ill, things rot and feed

the things that grow there after.