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
It’s here we’re forced to acknowledge the mystery,
their grinning imperfections
and what white lies
seek to tell and hide
in the tradition of interpretations.
There is only one way to interpret
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.
It was midnight when the sky broke
and the streetlights candled
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
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,
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
to the land of easily understandable things.