Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The turning seasons add, almost imperceptibly,
Another layer of grime and mold
To the houses of the aristocratic necropole
Where the patriarchs fume as they decay.
The houses of the populace, less grand,
Caked with plants, wires, the slogans of yesterday,
Streaked as with mascara by the rain,
Accumulate like cereal-box facades.
The bel apartments are layer cakes
Or ocean-liners basking in the sun.
A toothless horse pulls a wooden cart
Loaded with scrap collected by a boy.
A foreigner looks up from his guidebook.
An idled crane drifts like a huge weathervane
As the clouds take the shape of animals:
Tiger, dragon, seahorse, rhinoceros.
While the more dangerous passions are alive
In the faces of the loved and the spurned
That one encounters on the shady streets;
Like destinies, they must remain unknown.