Daily Archives: April 6, 2021

Shining City On A Hill

It is as broken as Troy
or Fukushima.

As crumbled as numberless cities
still unfound and unnamed.

No beauty to it now
as if it were Atlantis

sill thriving under pressure and
without light. If it is even real,

it is no longer within
our reach if it ever was.

Do you hate this lament for it? I do.
I longed for it as we all did.

Embarrassed now to say that
I once sang of how it could be found,

entered, made into a home,
but it was bait. It was only

lure, only decoy. While I chased it
it slipped away and something different rose

on its site that stank of whitened bones
and old massacres. I looked for it

on a hill while they built it
in a charnel trench. They knew me

well enough to know how I could be
fooled, and I was so fooled. My song for

the city became a scream, a death metal
horn of rage. My angle on the angles

of the buildings and roads turned sharp
and bloody. It became impossible

to inhabit my body and say it belonged there.
It’s just a nowhere form. It’s a frame for loss.

They keep building their city, marketing Troy,
tell us to keep praying to the ghosts of Fukushima.

They insist Atlantis will reveal itself,
rise from the nuclear waves if I will just wait.

That city I see them drawing up from the waves?
Not Atlantis, but R’lyeh, and yes, they always knew.


Standing on land
then stepping forward,

one toe touching the water
as I adjusted the focus and frame.

In the reeds seven feet
or more away, the subject alligator

turned lazily toward me
and opened its mouth. I took

many steps backward toward
the elevated tourist walkway,

startling so many spoonbills
from their perches as I ran,

my pretense at art taking
a backseat to survival until now.