Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Sting of Corrupted Rain

Safe inside the windowed walls,
the pressure-fed cement and steel,
the tempered glass that keeps
outside things out and puts a
pressed-down pillow to any
open mouth of the outside air,
so that cars float by without
the hiss of tires or the blare of
horns.

Safe inside, strange dissonance
growling as the fire alarm
banishes stillness, its tune so
foreign as the silent deluge
continues beyond the window,
people hustling across the street
as rain hits the pavement and
hops back several inches,
aching for the sky while soon
learning that there is no
return ticket, no finessing
gravity’s unflinching rule.

Now thoughts of fire, steamy
in the downpour, fighting
for life while cutting the damp
edge of the growing darkness,
trying to burn a building of
concrete and metal and glass,
somehow hopeless before it
finds books and desks and
the clothes on our bodies,
but there is nothing—

Nothing but some janitor
smoking in the stairwell,
or some disgruntled tenant
of this little world who’s
hand is now stained with
the ink from an alarm plunger,
doubtless trudging against
wind and in shirtsleeves,
wiping that indelible mark
against his tattered pantleg,
hair slick down like an ancient
helmet against his forehead,
eyes slitted against the sting
of corrupted rain against his pupils.

We are left with this concordance
of fire and water—
neither risen to
the level of danger, one just slightly
more real than the other, as rainfall
fades into soft drizzle and the cars
continue to file by the window--

This discordance of untrue fires
and migrant rainstorms, one
woman walking bent against
the silent outside with an
umbrella clutched in her
knotted hands,
unaware of these imagined
catastrophes as even the
call of fire is abandoned,
the quiet muttering of
overcast skies ascendant
before the velvet curtains
of deeper twilight descends.

1 comment:

Swiftboat said...

Very closely observed. I like how you captured an interval of time from several perspectives. The feeling of being both inside and outside. Lite rain and a false fire alarm. The poem is a sort of hologram of a cirtain place and time.