Tuesday, April 04, 2017

"The New Gods" by Joe Bolton

And then, for a long time, nothing happened.
The citizens slept in the sleeping cities
And rose at dawn and worked and loved and slept.
Nobody knew just how long this would last.

It happened because it wanted to happen.
Young, sculptural, the gods rose in the cities.
Lush, sexual, they shone as the citizens slept.
Lovely, they filled the screens but couldn’t last.

It happened because it had to happen.
Moving sleepless through the sleepless cities,
Filling the dreams of citizens who slept,
They too just wanted to sleep at the last.

Not from the snow-marbled heights of mountains,
Not from the deep blue rivers the snow made,
Not from the sweet blue nowhere of the sky,

But from the scented gloss of magazines,
From New York, Houston, and L.A., they came--
To become immortal, and then to die.

– Joe Bolton, from “The Last Nostalgia”

Sunday, April 02, 2017

"The Prototypical Ghosts" by Joe Bolton

The west field, wasted, seems day by day to recede
From the warped kitchen window where you stand in steam,
Your hand gone limp as the rag that won’t drop from it.
Like wom-out records, your frail parents, aging

Even when you were born, in their dotage
Seem more and more the prototypical ghosts
Of themselves, as if fifty years of food
From the same gray land had turned them gray as the land.

They hardly make a sound now, unless it is
To rasp a vague complaint, half remember a year
That has forgotten them, or tap against the table
Some object that’s outlasted its significance.

– Joe Bolton, from “The Last Nostalgia”