It’s here in these early morning nighttime silences under shadows of abandoned office buildings— solitary light in the window, computer screens waiting to be wakened; in the silent shudders of trees and passing cyclists; here in the promise of the day that we must come to terms with the howling cries of death and hunger.
And I have seen a future of abandoned corporate office parks. I have seen parking lots deserted save for staggered cars parked with windows busted and garbage bag taped over. It is there that I have seen a future wherein the word hope has been replaced by neighbor. Longing, by community.
Where the sun-rise from the west behind thread-bare quilted blanket lies the bosom of a new day.
I saw her again, this time standing on the sidewalk, no bags, or cart or anything to own. I recognized her face, though she is only a stranger. Everything else had been washed out, empty of any other kind of existence. I wanted to run up to her, grab her by the hand and to tell her the good news; your face, it’s still recognizable! But she would’ve thought me crazy. So I kept walking, with all four dollars in my wallet.
It’s like that time, remember, you drifted through the crowd with purpose and ease. You saw every way forward, every crease. With only one aim in your heart: to feel the music. Toward the thumping speakers you drift, beating with the rhythm that held your whole body together, held the earth in place. Holy melodies shook thunder from the dome-sky. All you wanted was to feel it, coursing through your entire body, like aching desire. And there was no stopping you. Remember? the sweet release.
Everyone was having a good time. Enjoying their food and drinks and conversations. Then the millennials walked in. Slouching and staring intently into the universes contained in each others eyes. Ordered only appetizers. Fed each other ranch slathered carrot sticks. And sucked everyone else into their vacuum of self-centeredness.
Words — We have enough words, but have we got enough people willing to listen. To really listen. It’s easy enough to write them, easy enough to put them out there, but are we even listening. I’m trying. I’m really trying to read your words as if they were mine. When you read do you read just to consume more? I do that too. When you read are you rushing? Same. Maybe we should go back to writing on stone tablets so we can realize how precious these words really are. I’m trying, I’m really trying. How many of us read with care? Read someone else’s poem as if it was your own. Everybody’s writing, but who’s listening. If not you, who?
travelers stand next to 9-5’ers who line the sidewalk, street-side no parking ’til 9 a.m. Music thunders out of the caffè. One couple chats while they wait, everyone else has noses in screens; trying not to be seen; the starlings flutter near the curb. One brave soul, tempted and cautious, hops under the two-person table to steal a crumb. The homeless man, with matted brown ribbons of hair shuffles down the line audaciously looking, or trying to look, the patrons in the eye. From somewhere inside a name is shouted over the music out onto the street, but no one lifts their head. And the homeless man keeps shuffling down the street, empty handed.