See? I told you I wouldn’t be gone long.
This one is kind of morose and morbid. We Write Poems wanted a piece that took something often seen as ugly and made it beautiful; I dislike getting too macabre and melancholy (god, so many good m-adjectives) with the beautification of death, I am no Baudelaire. But this was the first thing that popped into my head. There’s a reason I think we keep coming back to tragedy in our culture, and I suppose this was an attempt to pick that apart a little bit. I promise I’ll be back to my usual cheerful observational self with the next one.
This is post 1001, which has all kinds of pleasing Scheherezade undertones. That’s it for the milestones today, though.
He froze to death, right there, on a bench under the pine
sloping westward. Police come to Jackson Square, all black gloves
and yellow tape, searching his pockets for a name. We stare
through the iron gates, thinking, out here is all pumping blood
and carrying voices, and in there is all hush and cessation.
One of his hands claws forever at the sky. There are crystals
decorating his beard. Police sip coffee and take their notes,
and we want to peer over their shoulders. We circle. The man,
posed at every angle: accusing, forlorn, merely sleeping.
We haven’t seen him before, in that rustling coat worn colorless,
those chewed-up boots. They’ll label him Unknown, lay him out
on Hart Island in earth too solid to accept a single crocus,
despite our best intentions. He is brushed with blue.
Police refuse to tell us anything, so we detach and float,
Orphean, afraid to turn away. All art is a merciless teacher
we can’t resist. It comes suddenly: a dead man grows sculptural
and sorrowful; police murmur like flies; and we drift home,
where we will hold each other in silence by the fire.