Brick apartments with a shade or cloned pair
Of blank curtains, the middle dark between them
Above a short row of storefronts, no perspective,
Everything near, and the empty street nearer—
Only the light that touches them appears
At all unique, sidelong and full of bias,
Intense in its calm attention to a place
No one would visit unless he lived there.
But you see no one, which forces you to be
That person who admires the lucidity
Of an ungodly hour, the world embellished
By removing distraction. It’s this the paperboy
Bicycles past, what the tired nurse or night
Watchman sees coming home, nothing abstract,
No drama beyond the understanding of light,
Which, merciless, yet just, falls upon the hydrant,
The barber pole, with as much indifference
As it might an odalisque, a wheat field. The shops
Will sleep all day with their windows black. In art
Nothing happens, maybe this hard enough,
Yet the aura of possibility hangs like a vow
That comes from within, a stubborn denial
Of a flat on view so limited and limiting
It must be mood coloring your expectations,
Not just air the same shade as marigolds.
Their absence blooms from them in the way you face
Your hands, your own body straight up, no companionship
To dilute your thoughts, the long shadowed chances.
This is life which consists of one city block,
Happy brooding, loneliness you love
Because you have plans that may finally go right
Beneath the plain old sky that isn’t poetic
Pap, religious diatribe, but clear and real and bright.
Note: This new poem is a response to a prompt to “mash” together material from two other poems. I wound up “mashing” just two lines, which I altered slightly as I drafted the poem.
1. whose absence blossoms from it
2. and maybe this was already hard enough