Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Safety Is Joy

They’re putting up a new tomb across the street;
It’s bigger than mine. They all are, these days. Good times!
Say the bearded boys as they clink their beer mugs.

While I can’t decipher the surveyors’ neon calligraphy on the streets
I do get the writing on the wall. It’s more than 10 feet tall.
One of those new pharaohs. He’d like to get us in there
But only if we make the cut. Bless his munificence;
He’s given the bums a new place to piss.

Old men, idling, speculate--
Guess how much bone is in each brick,
How many eyes wired into the walls.

For us women, it’s just another hazard.
A place to catch a heel, or bump your baby awake.
When it’s standing tall, and when it falls to ruin,
It’s all the same. It's another place to hide us.

Image: St. Cecilia, Albi cathedral


Slothrop said...

This one really got me somehow - could be how much the words love each other or the fact that I've always loved how packed the title is. Has anyone ever written a study on the subconscious of jargon? (I'm still waiting for "incantation" to pop up in corporatespeak.)

Tombs can be guilt, homage, apology. During a desperately lonely time of life I would go, at least once a week, to the Park Street Cemetery in Calcutta. There stood a tomb like a giant, inverted ice cream cone with the inscription, "Ah, what avails the sceptered race! Ah, what the form divine! What every virtue, every grace! Rose Aylmer, all were thine."

Only time in my life when I felt like Scotty in "Vertigo." But I was watching acquaintances die every day, some of them flirty women. Showed me that the line between the two states was as thin as spiderweb.

Rose went to Calcutta w/ family because she was lonely; Landor never spoke up, I guess. Dead at 19 from cholera contracted by eating unwashed pineapple. To me her tomb was like a dessert dropped by a carefree girl suddenly stricken. Rose, if only you'd had things like Cipro in 1800; it saved my life after eating Calcutta ice cream. Wealth bought you nothing, at last, besides a place for me to mourn.

Maria Padhila said...

you are the best mystery