to lily in the tim horton's, i looked at your face for a second, your uniform didn't fit you, you glowed too much for it. your beige-brown uniform was like hanging christmas lights on a horse, they made you put your beautiful grey hairs in a hairnet. you must have come from beyond the town limits, some place at the end of roads that go off into the bush. you had the healthy skin of a woman who spent seventy years outside in morning fog, digging into garden soil, and somehow they found you with their restless accounts and kidnapped you to work here, handing donuts to strangers in your own town while genius executives admire each other's sad soul-holes over golf in some gated place.
but you hold no grudges, you take care of the world around you, that much i could see from the way your mouth moved easy into a smile, you glow everywhere they put you, you carry invisible grandchildren in the crooks of your arms making coffee two cream two sugars thunk thunk goes the machines that guard you and dispense cream, but if fugitive justice which haunts the greasetraps of civilization has a dawn, it must glow like you do
Friday, March 09, 2012
down in the underground city, the night is the underside of the ocean, littleluminsecent phytoplankton, swimming stars. below the highrises decrepit grown up from seed, their trunks of glass, their stone mouths, their headless stares. the wail of ambulances, the roars of subways, the clattering of ghosts.
cities show their best sides at night. during the day, they are bleak, hard places, like dried up sea floors, but at night the cities becomes the homes of nightpeople, outsiders, the darkness comes in like a protective mother, brings the walls in closer, the streets draw in, the lights come on like a drunken magic show, every weird or unwanted person lives at night - every strange job is done, after the lifeblood is dreaming soundly. cops, street cleaners, drug dealers, emergency room nurses, smoking 24 hour convenience store clerks, bouncers, and all the beautiful and ugly gods masquerading as hookers, madmen, drug addicts, police, drifters, predators, insomniacs. the night is the underground day.
so many of these gods have passed the corner, down this street or this alley, slept in this dark park, that at night the air wakes with their trails of spirit left in it. these memories cannot be seen but felt by night vision - on any corner have been magnificent meltdowns, casual dooms, questions of eternity by impending suicides, heartbreaks of lunatics, theologies of crackheads, revolutions invented by runaways, romances of the unemployed. serious duels took place down some alley, treason against friends hatched by the glow of mcdonalds - humans blossomed greatness under all minute conditions, even in this hell and tyranny of machines and advertising.
and it goes like this: far down is the rock and the soil, crushed on top of that is a layer of ancient history - the foundations of cabins, buried horses, fence posts, old trash. then comes the great tunnels - the fat sewers, mazes of subways, hidden holes, underground parking lots, steel bars, humming wires, dead bodies under the headstones, silent basements, secret bunkers, waterlogged archives, flooded rooms. then - a thin layer of ashphalt, the roots of persistent dandelions, the roots of jailed trees, concrete, more wires, staircases, shoes, piss, cardboard boxes, car tires garbage cans faces of sleeping gods rats stones syringes abandoned notes cigarette butts old gum
and the rest you know: streetlights, story after story of squares of light and darkness, giant lcd screens - then the tops of skyscrapers, serenely blinking red airplane warning lights, bank insignias, then the great mother ocean, smog or a star.
who could pray for the nightpeople? how could we ever praise or honor them enough, like people used to for the gods of spring or lakes or death?
Posted by steven martin at 3/09/2012 01:11:00 AM