you can hear the echoes., the past heartbeats of the city.
Wolves padding quietly and then howling at the chase,
Shawnee turni gg their head sharply at the sound of
a tree falling from one last swing of an axe, saws and
sharp tools bringing a home to last by the shores.
People shouting along the river, their wares onboard
the steaming ships, the flatboats, the loads of
pigs and oats, lumber, whiskey, slaves
to and from, up river down river a steady flow of
a City's life being created.
The screaming of Irish hate over the draft, Confederates
moving silent through the crows as the flames lick through
the buildings the sounds of paradox in the bright haze.
The long low belching of the trains rattling along
the burnished tracks without stop
The sound of the wagons moving slowly up and down
the streets, the heritage of plague to flu looking for
the dead, the long lined shuffle two decades later
from the jobless, the homeless, the hopeless.
And then the trains again, duets with the first
large engine planes and the flood of monochrome
passengers, olive or white the child-men on their
way to make a world, unmake a world,
survive the sounds and smoke of war.
Unlike past sounds the guitars crescendo the
counterpoint with the riots of this year, that year
the escalating of firearms and their sharp, strident
announcements and these are the echoes of the city
weaving around the sounds of engines and tires and
the soft, soft cooing of a pigeon before it
skitters away from a laughing child in the CIty.
when behind the wheel, windows rolled,
sounds muted if heard at all.
I remember 8mm films, bright colours
but no sounds as if the present in that
past was silent.
People, cars, birds buses, flags
snapping high above the street
birds playing with the flapping shadows.
I turn the radio on and turn
from station to station
until I find the city's soundtrack.
and female scurrying with hunger and belief
This block is for the dinners and the diners
and tasting of what money cooks
This block is for the music and the shows
that make the monied people feel ever so real
This block is full of ghosts. See
the buildings calcified, some with
windows some blind as blind can be
these are the real ghosts
the buildings of an older city.
of cars bent around corners, trucks and
buses, horns and engines revving
iin artificial hunger and desire
It is sterile it is as
lifeless walls and sidewalks where
a small girl reaches for her mother's hand.
the girl chatters full of being four and the
chatter is so much laughter and the
mother smiles, the daughter smiles
and the smiles jump from
heart to heart
and here is where cities should start.
the city, the world,
The Peregrines with brood
watch over their dominion.
the pigeons, blind and
oblivions to any
The starlings hoping
inside their dna that
their size means safety.
watch over their dominion above
the concrete canyons
the crowless concrete canyons
that keep their kingdom theirs.
A dark shadow flys over head and the
feathers ruffle for a moment
the city, the world
as the church spires that spike
through the neighbourhood
is a telephone pole, erected
long before its counterparts,
wood covered with tacks and nails,
decades of pre-internet communication.
Have you seen, do you want,
you want to see.
These days it is alone,
unadorned. It is wrong.
I leave a note of my own,
even though the sky says
it will be rained off but
still for a moment the
sheet flutters on the splinters
watching the cars jerking
in and out of lanes at rush
hour and the buses sliding
in and out of stops.
At one point a streetcar pulls
silently into a stop, the signs
proclaiming that entry is forbidden.
And so, unlike cars and buses,
it moves off just as silent
and with only the operators
Silent,sterile, passing the
couple who have just moved
into range of the CCTV
and each other's arms.
ebbs and flows with the rivers
that were once the arteries
that brought growth and now
are potential dangers as
the snow melts off the mountains
upriver and the clouds empty
over and over again the levels
rising like the hormones in the
couples strolling along the edge of
history that is the Ohio
Heading like futures toward
the noise of the city is, if not louder, then
at least more full of life.
And our hotel is a prime example of that
Another thing I might add. The ghosts ,
you will find, perfer the upper levels.
And the roof where the pool was.
Where, to them, the pool still is."
She holds out my room key and
fades away. I wrap my fingers around the key
or try to. The key is laying on the floor.
I do not remember the feel of the key or
the sound of it hitting the floor. All the sounds
are outside where there is wind and lovers and
bustling to and from work.
Inside there is nothing. I can hear nothing can
feel nothing, not even my heartbeat.
these are homes, not buildings,
dreams and visions not boxes
roofs angle, wild songs played
against the wind and chimneys even
now recall the memories of smoke
rising from the hopes of new
generations in the city.
After all this time the walls and roofs slide
into an embrace of each other like
drunks near time gentleman, time.
only the blue and the light
and the long grown shadows
cast by the sterile slabs
that are the walls of the
tall and barely alive buildings.
Limousines and powercars
rush from dark to dark in
hopes of control in the light
the sheen of desire the
ripples of hunger.
But there are also people,
the hungry, the lonely,
the loving, the crazy to ones
who can recognise each other
even in the dark where
they are wrapped in dark and light
like purring cats remembering immortality.
an age she may not reach
if the years follow the
tracks along her arms.
Instead of wanting
a pony, she wants more horse
and stops passing strangers
offering a ride for whatever amount.
The wind wraps what little skirt
she wears and as she smoothes it
the wind carries her laughter and
for a moment she is once again 14
like a blade of grass through concrete
she is, for a moment, free
The streets are small globes, ineffective
under the monochrome passing of
day to night, various greys and blacks...
the sky full of clouds scuttled by windstream
hard and fast enough to create a soundtrack
using rooftiles and the flotsam and jetsam
that float on the streets, the dry rivers of the city,.
Or are the streetlights ineffective because
they are distracted by past existences as
gasllamps glowing soft in union with the night
counterpoints that flicker as horses and
people carry the new century's hopes and dreams
into the flow of a monochrome passing of
day to night and in time back again.
There is a long, low rumble
as the sky comes unfastened
and there is deluge of water...
that brings out a colourful
cornucopia of umbrellas
twirling, colours overlapping,
held tight by hands praying along
the handles for dryness.
Except for one umbrella, black
and bouncing from
curb to cub free from
everything except the
brisk wind of Spring.
One of us was dead.
I forget which one it was at the time.
Not the death that passes us through
time and time again as this and this
and back to you and I again.
Centuries upon centuries but
at least I remember one of us
was dead, although I forget which.
the dead that is cruel, the death
that would not let you or hear
the laughter from lives to come.
Your beard whispers the story
your beard sings ever so soft
of life and death.
Do you remember that one of us was dead
once upon a time? Do you remember
who it was in the once upon a time?