They circle slowly each in its own tier of a near cloudless sky, their wings still as if frozen, riding the breeze, dipping and rising, going nowhere, needing nowhere, riding, riding, looking down at the wetland, and circling, until with a shift in the breeze the vulture vortex shifts east, and you watch them shrink, thankful that they are simply out for a flight, and not finding a meal in the reeds and trees where all the other birds live.
It is the difference I always notice between small and large cities: the parks.
When you sit deeply within Boston Commons or Central Park you can feel the city always threatening to encroach and once again make you its prisoner, smell and hear the city, traffic and trucks rumbling, horns played in a cacophonous symphony.
In small cities you can sit in a park and wonder where downtown could be, distant, a whisper perhaps alwlays unseen, and you can get lost in dreams of childhood smell newly mown grass, and listen unimpeded to the stories the trees are all to willing to tell.
If you close your eyes you can imagine that this garden was once a tropical jungle as imagined by some clever Floridian striving to separate more tourists from their dwindling travellers checks.
It has been carefully done over, plants native and ornamental replacing the vines and trees, the alligators, real and imaginary gone, now an exhibit of Lego animals, the orchids in bloom, and you wonder why anyone once came here in the old days.
The evening slowly enters Warsaw — along Aleje Solidarnosci a lumbering truck backfires — some old ones cringe — thoughts collapsing — into rail cars — lightening bolts on stiff black wool uniforms — polished jackboots — a wrought iron gate — Arbeit Macht Frei
The evening slowly enters Warsaw along Aleje Solidarnosci a truck backfires a sudden flock of sierpowka Eurasian Collared Doves rises gracefully from the trees each carrying another lost in the ghetto ’43 in the revolt ’44
Night settles on Warsaw – there is solitude
First appeared in Pitkin in Progress, Vol. 3, No. 1 (2002)
The clouds well up over the foothills casting a gray pall, bearing the angry spirits of the chindi who dance amid the scrub juniper. Brother Serra, was this what you found, wandering along the coast, tending the odd sheep, Indian and whatever else crossed your path?
The blue bird hopping across the dried grasses puffing its grey breastplate and cape sitting back, its long tail feathers a perfect counterbalance. It stares at the oppressing clouds and senses the impending rain. The horses wandering the hill pausing to graze on the sparse green grasses. The roan mare stares at the colt dashing among the trees then returns to her meal, awaiting the onset of evening.
The chindi await the fall of night when they are free to roam and steal other souls. Was your water rite more powerful than the blessing chants? Did you ward off their evil and purify the breeze of the mountains?
The sun slowly climbs up onto the mountain’s minaret and announces the call to prayer. The waves in the quiet Lake dip their heads watching trees with the reverence reserved for morning. The loon sits on the altar and intones the sermon, the waves stilling for a moment, then ebbing into the day.
She asks innocently, listening to the wind whispering through the bare branches of the oak, “How long have you lived in this poem,” pointing to the page of marked and remarked typescript. He looks at her as if discovering she’d grown another head, peeking out from between her well-polished teeth. “I have no idea what you mean,” he says, “I write the poems— it is up to you to furnish them.” She grimaces, “That’s so wrong,” a third head appeared, grinning, “if you build poems on spec they are sterile little boxes that you foist off on the unwary. Plant all the flowers you want around it, it will still have the antiseptic smell should we dare step into it. That’s just the difference between us,” she adds, “I can see the song of the wind played by the trees, but you, you see only the blankness of the unadorned walls.”