January 2001 / Volume Two / Issue One
Paul Brown

Particles ofpaisley, fall to the ground.
Gem cut flakes of graphite and steel,
Stolen from graffiti soaked railway cars,
Mirror the surface of a pool of bilge water and bile.
From heaven above, or the high-rise three blocks south,
A man or god can see far away things
On a clear day.

No rumble from a subway car disturbs this
Fresh born glass of looking.
The sky is clear and clean of temperature inverted jet streams.
Smog collected against a pollution shortage born years before
Falls away for a time.

Beneath the pool and bile, buried under twin tons of
Granite sand and a centuries pressing community,
Lies a farm, a house,
A burial plot, for long dead families who fled and died
When the winter white fell on red flesh grown cold.

What say you now Chicago
With your gloaming spires and your working man's wind?
Can you repair your past as easily as you scrape off
The pride of your latest warrior's tributes?

They sell trinkets in the streets, the people,
For a crust of bread or a bite to eat.
Mine are made of silver and polished glass
Etched with acid and copyrighted in Japan
They make excellent birthday gifts...
Trinkets against the coming dark age.
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