And in that republic, they
built a machine,
a machine of a million names,
but one purpose,
was a virtue of nettles on bare skin,
leaving kindness’s soothing balm
It is why I stopped searching this world for guidance,
instead pilgriming to myself to find
the capitol of compassion.
But the old men raged.
Respect was a price they could not afford
and even if they paid their dues nothing would change,
So, we were told to accept the world they had birthed.
In aborted flooded canals we swam,
slow swarms watching as one by one we drowned.
How many could have been saved
in those days of historic possibility?
No one knows
and fewer venture to guess
the hypothesis being a hippopotamus
not sitting on caving chests
between our vulnerable bodies.
I etched markings along the wall
then a single slash through.
Each friend and fellow who died became reduced to that singular tally.
And those city lights on the horizon,
like a municipal gathering of fallen stars,
Dialogues with the past emerging,
ghosts ushering in futurescapes.
Ash to flame,
dust to diamond glory.
But no one told me the story
and those dull distinctions matter.
So many points of light nothing more than traffic lights.
Like wounded suns
struggling to breathe
telling interstellar cartographers,
this is the town,”
but doing it in suggestive blaring neon verbs