A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Perhaps when we are gone we will enter into
the beautiful history, as O’Hara called it, but
I fear it’s vastly more likely our current civic
disgraces will forever keep the door barred.
All the coins I hoard that never find the palm
of an outstretched hand, every daub of color
so indistinct and ill-defined the museum goer
never notices, every clear sky day you can’t
be bothered to look up. It all goes on the cosmic
ledger. I may be lousy at math, but even I can see
how the tally goes against us. Ah, but here in this darkness
and anonymity I am comforted. This jukebox here
brim-full with throbbing, inconsolable hearts
is a badge on the breast of our better graces.
Patsy Cline and Ronnie Van Zant may have
punctuated their lives in the breakage of gravity,
but nightly we listen as they rise and take
the heaviness of the day with them. Billie Holiday
plants a bloody, endless forest and demands
we climb our way out. Up there we loose
a torrential rain of tears, but who’s to say
the resultant flood isn’t cleansing? And Elvis,
my God… The common belief is the universe
is cold and empty and this speck of dust
is the only game in town. And what have we done
with this mathematically improbable honor?
What will you do with the next hour, the next day?
Here in this bar on such an ugly night in this vicious
year whose will be the next aching voice, the last
absolutely precious thing we can all agree on?
Copyright 2019 Kristofer Collins.
Kristofer Collins’ books include The Liturgy of Streets (Six Gallery Press, 2008).