Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Labyrinth - 9/30

A Tuesday to you, and to you, and to you, dear reader. I'll have you know that Tuesday is actually descended from "Tiw's Day", Tiw being a roman god of war. So, if you aren't warring today, you're not celebrating your Tuesday properly. Whether you war against your boss by leaving a paper clip in the copy machine or you declare war on a sandwich from Subway (and devour it most ferociously), hopefully you're having a great Tuesday.

Today's poem came semi-prompted by NaPoWriMo.
And now our (totally optional) prompt. I’m a sucker for a good mystery novel, especially the hard-boiled noir novels of the thirties and forties. There’s always a two-timing blonde, a city that keeps its secrets, and stuck in the middle, a man who just can’t help but rabbit after truth. Today I challenge you write a poem inspired by noir — it could be in the voice of a detective, or unravel a mystery, or just describe the long shadows of the skyscrapers in the ever-swirling smog.
Taking that cue, I couldn't get the image of a foggy, benighted city out of my head. So, today's poem.

The Labyrinth 

This city, this fog-raftered catacomb
of steel and towering glass, windows
illumed like eyes lining the whole
tentacular length.
These sentinels.
Has anyone grown in their shadow
and learned to crave the sunlight?
Pallid-irised people sating pupils
on ash and ticking fluorescence.
All have a characteristic shuffle,
the slow, downcast gait of one
hunting for something
unremembered.
These citizens,
their troglodytic gazes
untroubled by the heavens,
only looking up long enough
to leer at the bleary timepiece
shining commandments into the dark.
What necropolitan society could have
bred such dreamlessness?
By which empire's pride
did Heaven finally withdraw, taking
all its unrecognized beneficence with it?
That rapture, only recalled
in the scrawling of dead scribes.
Could any have known the rapture
to be more ellipses than comma,
more abandon than check?
How long had we strove with our God?
This consolation prize, this city
dim with the lack of its God,
grim in the tack of its gods'
chronometric enthrallment,
fluorescently buzzing tyranny
lighting our garden of earthly despair.

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