Oyster Boy Review 08  
  January 1998
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» Levee 67


What It Has to do With

Jon Powell

This could be the season love flew to heaven
        on the wings of eagles
like the Mesopotamian god Enki six thousand years ago.
It could be the stuttering indeference of Mozart,

offering to change his concerto from d to f
to please some wandering
        conductor who resembled his father.
Someone to fear & loath, love & fear.

It could be hollow reeds & willow leaves
        floating on a stagnant pond. Turning silver & brown.
& sinking
to that other world. Off or down or up. Redundantly.

& yet—what is this longing that slashes @ us?

This turning inward

& then outward; reap & then sow. The scatterings
                                                we do w/our lives
over & over & over. Punching the same old jukebox numbers.
Voltaire or Vic Damone or Gilgamesh could be sitting
                                        next to you in an airport bar
        Who would crack a smile of recognition first?
It has to do w/journeys. Leaving & never going back.
        Never arriving. Never finding the way. Never knowing
which path you're on.

It has to do w/St Ursula & 11,000 maidens on their holy trek
        & finding martyrdom @ the hands of Atila.

Antiphons & psalms. Vespers & matins. A responsoria
        for the lost & doomed & dead.

It has to do w/highways. An endless droning & tumble & fall.
Pilotless shuffling by those stumbling in & out
                                                                        of our lives.

An overture by the inept languishing poolside.
Ordering the free drinks & bitching about the service.

It has to do w/highways & getting lost for 2,000 years
        because the map was scribbled over so many times.
Scores of unknown tracing w/stubby pencils

        endlessly & endlessly & endlessly

blurring the original roads & overpasses & exits.

It has to do w/highways & centuries of the dispossessed
        slouching to another nothingness.

It has to do w/highways & the bodies of the impaled
        left to mark the way to the coliseums.

It has to do w/highways & simfonias written for
        wildflowers growing @ a child's grave.

It has to do w/highways & the temples of the insane
        built from ashes scooped from the crematoriums.

It has to do w/skimming off the top & looking down the well
        into the cold black center of the universe.

The cold black & bleak view of the mountain we all
        call home.