—after John Ashbery
When the lift stopped and they sent notice you
stepped over sleeping vagrants in the stairwell on your way out.
Time held still in its museum you constructed
from hearsay, happy voices, no one in control
the beauty of democracy without the parade of life
you said and closed Shelley, turned to the tap a shoulder
rolling over in bed (before the water shortage)
like a lost Apollo mission.
We joked about who had the gumption
to talk to her. All the blokes held back, shadows of what we sought.
A fine mess, indeed. Don’t blame the messenger but do listen long enough
as we touched down elsewhere again, sons of immigrants
fathering immigrants, “my generation” a rolling spectacle.
I’d like to button down too one day, collect trinkets
bearing a conceptual oblivion that undoes them
like a new pair of glasses too high or too low.
I’m glad you are open about drawing lines in the sand
not to disturb eternity with details of the day
and can relax that no one will take you seriously.
All that is left is a restless hope in surviving time
like a lover so young and innocent who disappears in time.
(Nov. 5, 2014)