All the cities are going on
doing what they do without me
walking their streets taking it all in
like it's my own great big private circus
until I've seen too many faces and my feet hurt and
I stay alone too long then remember how most of the time
I have been alone, just walking by
and then that thing happens in my head
and I become like a ghost again and the cities like cemeteries.
I'm still spiritually wrestling with greater minds
who tell me the world is simply what I am,
what I bring to the table, my expectations, my understanding or lack of it,
my desires, my fears, my beauty, my ugliness...
That it's all just me projected out onto some screen.
But I tell you that horror and atrocity stay,
stick, remain, for a very long time, and that
I don't think I am responsible for it all.
I wanted to show you something about how horror
impacts good people who go to work never expecting
what will confront them, change them, scar them
forever and about how they try to live with that.
An overlay of tarnish is lowered onto the map of these lives,
the topography of reality has changed.
And then you walk out into a cold night
brightly lit by a large sympathetic moon
after the few cars drive off
it is so quiet on the village common with it's
old big white black-shuttered New England houses
the dark woods and the sharp clean air.
You try to make an overlay of this scene
for your own map.
This morning, quiet and humid,
an invasion of stealthy, marauding
blackbirds, hundreds and probably more,
their white shit on the black car's roof,
and a green grasshopper standing stock
still, sweating the birds, which have now adjusted to my presence
with occasional low barks of warning
they tumble from the still-green leaves, a migration shaping up,
twenty miles later you exit the car finding the grasshopper
still there, at eye level now, a tenacious fellow - so you nod
then later still, after work, walking through the broken city
the setting sun illuminates three gold crosses
high above three people who are making an effort to hold
an indifferent bus for a bent-low woman,
and it feels for a minute like it's all happening just the way it has to.