I have walked these streets
these cavernous coffins, sparkling but barren,
her belly bearing the swift and moaning metal tide.
She belches out her disapproval
and hungrily takes her place, an upward striving,
a downward gravity, host to vagabonds.
This headmistress of a language tasting
like rubber, and smoke and old pizza boxes
tossed together in a back alley salad of sad.
Here the fingers don’t touch across
the chapel ceiling, draped in mystery.
Here the collective taunt the painters with maintenance.
The broken, steely sky is punctured through
with a thousand fluorescent lights;
and night is confused with day.
Downtown hustlers shepherd their shivering flock
of skin and leather, studs and paint
so their shoes can match the shiny lights.
Down the sides, around the backs
over the heaps, through broken gates
go the wayward shadows…in the city.