BLACK VESPER’S PAGEANTS
If what wakes you of a sudden, past midnight
are the war or mating calls from roaming kids
as they rush across the street from trouble
or in trouble, you shouldn’t dwell on plans
come unhinged, on how days you saved for
had another you in another city, on the done
for, the lost. Listen, the dash and sprint outside,
the galvanized ring of sticks or coins to post
is undertow to the headlines that plot what
brokers wrecked, whose pockets filled.
No illusion what you’ve seen in the streets,
the sullen mouthed boys that pass you by,
the averted look, hooded gangs on corners
staring drivers down. The city is all too real
and you know it’s going when you can’t tell
firecracker from gun, run-in from revelry.
Stand by the window, the kids disperse
like swarm from fire as searchlight weaves in
and out, back and forth a web around rack
and ruin, an evanescent safeguard that judders
with the drum-roll of its thrust, like attendant
to a god entering a city it visits and destroys.