thislandismyland

In the Country of Real and Imagined Labyrinths

We weren’t ready but inevitably we came

to this place, constructed

full of intricate passageways

and blind alleys.

Over the drone of our own discomfort and inward movement,

we heard the sound of prayer

coming from locked rooms—

it made us feel awakened

to the possibilities

as if we could begin again,

speaking a new language

through the bullshit niceties

and accepted forms.  

You throw me a torch,

we move out onto city streets,

it’s almost dusk

I see myself written in the almanac

of your fate

and the prophecy of my zodiac

printed in the local newspaper

right next to the comics

which we choose to read first

putting off the inevitable

work we must permit ourselves—

understanding the inexhaustible connotations

of union and the promise of identity;

exploring, the false starts and dead ends

with words like

Me;

               I;

                               Lost;

You.

It’s here we’re forced to acknowledge the mystery,

the teeth,

their grinning imperfections

and what white lies

seek to tell and hide

in the tradition of interpretations.

 

 II.

There is only one way to interpret

a calamity—

we watched buildings burning.

As we approached,

a fireman stopped us,

everything is secure prior to its collapse,

he muttered from the rubble.

You remembered burning the eggs

three times in one morning

driving smoke through the windows

through real and imagined nomenclatures

of what we called holy,

and we walked

looking for a church

where the alters have not collapsed

in priestly abandonment

god-forlorn and waiting.


III.

It was midnight when the sky broke

and the streetlights candled

small luminescences

on hard-to-pronounce streets.

Feathers lined a network

of alleyways.  Through a window

we saw executives around

a conference table.  We imagined them dreaming strategies

of global markets whose forests

compete in an economy of trade.  I still smell

smoke, you say,

we look but the buildings are gone.

The street peddlers,

their mandolins vibrate into the air

we want it to sound like Bach

or cowboys

but it doesn’t sound like anything, really.

A magician pulls rabbits

from ceramic globes and astronomical clocks

making furry multiplications of meanings

we are now, too tired to work through,

but how happy we are

there are so many interesting people

out on the streets.

Suddenly, there are flights and flights

to our climbing up stairs

that look almost medieval.

I am remembering a story,

I say, of Icarus,

and how he fell into the sea.

 

The sailors remember his body

on the third Sunday of June every year,

their ships

are faint occurrences in his coral eyes

his clam mouth and pebbled hands,

his mind a current

carrying the ocean’s continuation.

I feel we have become a hostility here,

Or at least to ourselves anyway, you say

we notice the walls

graffitied by our need,

our incomprehension and inability

to find the way

any way,

back

to the land of easily understandable things.