Symphony for the Derelict

First Movement: The Train
 
 
The imbroglio thickens
to a new strain in the orchestra.
Moderato: the train

weaving a silver ladder into the city.
Dove sono i bei momenti?

 

Where are the beautiful moments?

 

A wife, no breath for the reed pipe.
A son, never a son.
But a daughter, yes. I have a daughter
making a mess of her life.
 
The imbroglio thickens
to a new strain in the orchestra.
 
the Derelict is going to Denver.
He’s high
and he’s going to the Mile High City.
 
But he reeks of despair
and his bags and grey-wire beard
say he’s going to 24th and Mission.
Say he’s going to have another drink.
 
Don’t go there, he says,
Pretty lady like you. All
the bums go to the Mission.
 
But I am going to the Mission
to a new strain in the orchestra.
On the train that weaves a silver ladder
into San Francisco.
 
Dove sono i bei momenti?
 
The sun over the shipyards,
a herd of steel dromedaries
(some bending over the bay
bowing their industrious heads for a drink)?
A lexicon of litter, bandied about
on the pavement like parchment
 
where something about ourselves is written?
How we buy—how and what?
How we hear—but never listen?
 
Where are the beautiful moments?
When he says opera and nods
like he knows I have a satchel full of poetry.
 
The train screams,
the hobo still eulogizing.
A wife, no breath for the reed pipe.
A son, never a son.
But a daughter? Yes. I have a daughter.
You remind me of her.
 
Dove sono i bei momenti?
Where is my daughter?
 
 
Second Movement: The House
 
 

On Marin, the house is sinking
in to blue flowering waves,
bowsprit sunk into the garden,
foundation into foxglove,
stairway into scarlet leaves.
 
Upon the catstep of the steep hill,
crow’s nest and cupola, fallen.
 
On the prow, half-submerged
in green-electric grass,
the poet, wave-hounded from his cabin,
himself lashed to the mast,
and over starboard side looked out
upon the billows.
 
On Marin, the house is sinking.
 
The joists unseal,
the ceiling peels
The Poet’s rib bones brittle.
 
The plumbing clotted
in the brain
copper-piped and aged;
under façade, under skin:
 
decayed.
 
On Marin, the house is sinking.
Upon the catstep of the steep hill
into blue-flowering waves
crow’s nest and cupola,
fallen.
 

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~ by ImaginaryCanary on November 22, 2012.

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