Endless Ending

Where I lounge, across the street from the library, a tree stump sprouts a power outlet,

Where I lay, the dispossessed stir puddles of their spittle,
Where I stay they are stuck, surrounded by the Midwestern gates
those who can walk cannot walk on highways,
And I mimic the fountain mocking a spring,
I am the illusion of a geyser that bursts every forty minutes, but I sputter pathetic
eternally flowing straight up and with simple symmetry,
Checked off, satisfactory by the downtown rehabilitation committee.

As the fountain’s steady murmur negates the noise of the street and the talkers,
It is there,
It dreams geometry, a glimmer,
a frame of mind writ in gold ink falling off in flakes.
I create its meaning….simple soothes….and it reveals me,
I am standing with it, measuring up, streamlining my voice towards Good,
but this stiff pose is fraudulent, lacking the chaotic truth of the flood, the cascade.
I breathe it in –never mind what it is— I exhale,
I try catching my breath before—breathe in—toppling onto itself like liquid gravity,
I taste the conceded air overlapping moments of clarity,
the resources wasted for the illusion of endless resource,
This inherited insanity of the east passed over the handles of shovels,
The grooves of conveyor belts, interstate-widening proposals,
passed down, interpreted and multiplied,
A thousand extra times to relieve unemployment.

A fountain pleases, it shines in its way,
I see them and it and what once was below, sprung from the day
through the decades and copper tubing.
Find us wavering… still… without the will to move…. hoping time follows the cue.
No romantic,
No denier of men’s contingent horizons,
No more set apart than indifferent,
No place is mine… I balk specificity.
My eyes now opened to some Morning Glory, some public flowerbed,
now half closed preparing to feed on the dreaded “specters of books,”
Windows with wooden planks instead of closed signs, men with faces ground,
Beauty judged in a room with big windows over the Ozarks,
Starved for some fathomless life, glistening eyes that could shame a serious mood,
But I am slowed by progress, retreating back from whence we came,
Backwards through the Gateway, to the edge, where there is no mud season,
Back where the once seen has been hidden, veiled in our pride and pain.

From the lush northwest to this nowhere but between, saturated in melancholy and heat,
the sun tantalizes the cold and warm equally,
Where earnest men sown seeds between roots, atop an atmosphere of dust, I find a pernicious silence:
a turned cheek, a denial, a mass sleight of hand, playing us for fools.
This remains of optimism’s failures,
Small-time communists trying to grow old on their own terms,
Fields tilled clean of perennial crops and native blood,
But mad cow and windblown soil back to the town center,
Where all are seen and scrutinized and judged,
Crows circle this festering sore, this hole in the earth,
The sustainable dream delayed, dismantled and cried at Internet auction.

Is this the endless ending of humanity’s gamble,
Of seeming lost….wandering….where only the naked rattling boughs outside the
window hint at the spirit of our age?
So much youth, we murder preemptively,
So much debt, we’ve pinned down the world.
What are we waiting for?
Looking without seeing, ignoring glitches in thought,
Mesmerized by eternal amusement, lost forever is our claim to being bold.

2009 – Joplin, Missouri