Thursday, July 29, 2010

Morning, our tomorrow

What we were once, two words,
we are no more, taken in

When ten sticky layers absorb
the shadows of our predecessor shapes.
Purple bruises bleed through
the buried steel

Where one-hundred shouted
stories slid down into
a waiting mouth of obtuse angles.
Vague numbers now,
we follow, ask

How one-thousand labors
couldn’t gird us against not-
birthing gusts, their reverse alchemy,
aching to prove

Why countless precious lines
could turn testily from true
geometry’s parallel path, and seek
an improbable calculus of chaotic drips,
those splats that trace a figure

Who in the flash of flame
realizes his distinctions
have lavishly become

Our tomorrow will know
what our today’s forgotten.

This is the last of the trio of pieces I wrote to accompany my friend George Kokines' installation of 9-11-themed pieces, which is to be exhibited at the Elgin public library in September. I wrote this thinking of the iterations the painting went through, its previous versions invisible but still lurking underneath, and how that's a metaphor for so much of the past that we pretend doesn't exist but always informs our present and future. If you missed the other two poems, they are Silver Wings and St. Nicholas.

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