Update: This poem placed first in Artella's April 2006 Poetic Idol competition.
Two lit offices in the tall romantic tower,
on the twelfth floor, lonely and looming and large.
A lighthouse for the dusk-people--
set aside in their longing, breezing by with the tower--
the only testament to an ephemeral existence.
Down the dimly lit stair with the nearby trees
and their not-quite-midnight silhouettes
that remember Vincent Price.
There's that little city: it reaches, it crawls,
it thinks it's a city and so it is, it must be.
Marching on slush, melting beneath my heated soles,
accumulating in even swaths ahead of and behind me.
Past the Wash Hut where the smell of fresh linen-air
wraps my head in a smoky shawl of lint and fluff
as it rises heavily into the night.
Near the busy doors of Liberty Square, a place I frequented
once, some other life, some century past--the future perhaps.
The sidewalk buckles with the weight of the feet,
those endless feet that trace its cracks
to the dried roots of oak, breaking above soil.
Such an ominous, inescapable mountain range,
it too shrouded in the same clouds wafting out below
from the forgotten chimney-mouth.
World do your worst!--For I shall thaw this frigid permafrost,
my wintry overcoat, my icy skin.
That view, those empty branches framing emptier greys
and the welcoming brickwork all along, near the 1952-church
where I stole a bough of fir just for its scent,
and in return those mountains stole a little of my sanity,
and a little of my little life.