Thursday, October 12, 2006

The New Quest of the Dark Tower

Oh I have known this, your sky bleeding smoke, forever.
No guarantees were offered by yesterday’s newspaper
whispering against the curb this morning when the sky
was lilac and windless, threaded with silent crows.
No guarantees were offered, childe-hero
in the wasteland of tomorrow’s sale windows
in the sterile dance of the mannequins
posing frozen, announcing the change of seasons.
Plate-glass shivered at the sound of your horn
but this isn’t Jericho. We need a different way in
to the city’s hearts. We need doors with fun-house mirrors
that see around corners. We need a flight of crows for raucous augury.

You have known this forever. The shadow under the porch light.
The furtive movement behind the hedge. Laughter from passing cars.
The smell of death under the kitchen sink. This is your heritage:
the weight at the bottom of your backpack
the brown stain drying on the heel of your shoe
the criss-cross tracks on the sidewalk. No animal guide.
You’re on your own in the frozen maze of the walls of the city
lined with carnival mirrors.

I have known this forever: no-one’s exempt from being a hero.
No city without a desert and a dark tower.
Questing yesterday, questing tomorrow and always questing today—
a movable feast, spread at your feet every lilac dawn.
Left to be gnawed by rats among the litter
of yesterday’s news and tomorrow’s sales.
The piper offers cut-rate extermination, but no guarantee
unless you pay in full. Make no bargains.
Learn to play the music of the crows on your horn.
Look in the shivering mirrors for someone else’s face,
your face, stretched around a corner.
Your eyes, bleeding smoke. Your eyes full of lilacs.
Tomorrow’s for sale, but you have to pay today.
There are no guarantees. There’s no new news.
We’ve known this story forever.

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