in the land of my sojourn angels of both light and dark wander these stones and hills while the city’s more corporeal inhabitants unwittingly go on pilgrimage; these red-shod feet grow calloused getting lost in these streets while my eyes search for grace and classroom buildings. beauty dwells here, fading like a Fate into antiquity while still shouting amidst a cacophony, calling after the ones drunk on the spirits of the age stumbling past: “come, all who are thirsty, and buy without money.” her voice drowns, though, in the whirlpool spinning facts into fiction, the drum-and-bass tsunami keeping us all in check further inland…but as for me, it’s just before dawn and freezing cold, as I stare down the street and watch for two long lines glowing even as they pass me by and leave me behind
“when life gives lemons, make lemonade,”
goes the saying, so we did–sugar and water
and tart yellow juice mixed together
on a sunny summer Saturday afternoon.
now here we sit on your front porch swinging
(you and me and the devil makes three).
the temperature: fahrenheit ninety-three,
but it feels worse. so thank God for ice in lemonade,
and the breeze sending the chimes swinging
and ringing like the sound of water,
and the shade of clouds in late afternoon,
but thank God more that we’re all here together
beneath the sun, linked together
by years and stories. nineteen seventy-three
our paths diverged one afternoon
in that sweet-and-sour day like lemonade;
we parted like the ancient red sea waters,
diplomas in hand and tassels swinging.
but now by the chance of this pendulum swinging,
some strange twist brought us once again together.
love just can’t be drowned by time’s raging water,
but life has done its damage to us three,
so now we burn away our sorrows with acid lemonade,
whiling away another july afternoon
just like we did when we were kids, but this afternoon
finds us older, wiser, a little slower in swinging,
(our middle-aged knees creaking), drinking lemonade
like we’d never tasted it. we take big gulps together,
and sunset sneaks its way here and finds three
half-empty glasses and a pitcher full of lemony water.
my wife’s out front gardening now–i can hear the water
trickle out from the hose, to restore what the afternoon
sun took from the plants. and maybe we three
might be restored to youth through swinging
like children on this back porch together,
fueled by old memories and sugar-drenched lemonade…
then again, maybe now together we three
old friends can leave afternoon behind, cross that water
and, full of lemonade, face our old age and come out swinging.
When I talk to you,
It’s almost like neither of us left.
We’ve been headed in two directions,
Our paths intersecting every so often,
And we’ve picked up new baggage on the
Way–new photographs to burn and
Put in this book of scraps from life’s table.
And now you come to me saying
That you can’t walk anymore–been
Beat up and robbed and left for dead
By everyone you walked beside toward
Whatever it is you still haven’t found…
I may not be much better off, but my
Load is still lighter (it helps when you’re
Not the only one carrying it, right?).
So will I choose to be priest or samaritan?
I ask myself as I pass by your broken heart.