Friday, August 22, 2008

What I Think Would Be Swell

Granite – marble – deeply etched to dolorous effect:
it’s odd, perhaps, that I can’t understand interment
in bare land of coffins into graves – grand mausoleums –
when I spend the wages of my heart each day on turning
pages of this city’s past, read in its architecture – loving
each incessant curlicue and gargoyle of the belle époque
and every calmed and formal doorway of the Greek
revival blocks of tailored russet brick and stone

which grace so many Greenwich Village streets – it’s odd,
perhaps, that I can’t reach the barest sense of rightness
in a cemetery past some grim and buried humor
at the folly of attempting to exhume dead people’s stints
on Earth by giving birth to billboards made of stone:
I scratch my living head and leave the useless and eroding
rock alone: and turn instead to those still breeding hives
of life that offer panoplies of breathing chances to

encounter strife and bliss and damp ennui – and some
new NYU boy’s glee at knowing if he makes it here,
he can at least appear to make it anywhere: I like to see
these kiddies leap and gyrate in the high tides
of their lives ignoring all the sly asides their 1880s tenements
keep winking at them: no one seems to know that he
or she inhabits such a density of glow, such mystery
of history. Edifices are as dead as graveyards only

when they aren’t filled with flesh still freshly wrestling with
this enterprise of being. Let the lights go on in every
tiny split and fissure of this city’s carapace: this city’s
monumentally segmented and elaborately decorated shell –
intensely burrowed-into, with its promises of untold heaven,
hell. And when I “pass” if I am taken out like that day’s
trash and burned to ash, I think that would be swell.
Just sprinkle me where New-York-City-dwellers dwell.


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