Thursday, November 21, 2013

Excerpts from "Departure"

"Left utterly alone, there is nothing
The heart can invent to numb itself.
All around you on the hardwood floor,
Your old life darkened in cardboard boxes.


If love is an awkward, scriptless scene
To be played out between two people,
I cannot write it: I am a pattern
Of breath and sleep that city will outlive.

And if poetry is a bond between
Two hearts, it is a bond too frail:
That night words failed, I too, was lost--
To whiskey, memory, a photograph.

East of that city, the green fields
Are winding away beneath your gaze,
And here, west of that city, there is
No water deep enough to let me forget.

If I could look forward, I could see us
In Houston, in Atlanta--that South
No train will take us to, that South
We lost ourselves in so long ago.

And those cities, so far removed
In distance and time--can our small stars
Survive those bright lights? Our language
Be heard above the din of the million?

Tonight, a hundred miles away,
Our city, made of circles and squares,
Must be much the same as it was:
The bars, the buildings, the streets empty of lovers.

It is a city we can never
Return to--a dream, a green light,
An unfound door closed upon the past.
Our words echo through it and fade."
--Joe Bolton