Civilization Ages Like My Dying Mother
I'm thinking I had my own Jurassic
period: roaming the planet as I knew
it in the house on Hartley Street
through eons of being two until
for some unknown reason I went
hurtling down the steps to the basement
like a meteor and was wiped
from the face of my innocence,
falling nose first into nothingness.
A Bronze Age followed, doesn't
it always? How I learned to forge
hot burning experiences into shields
had less to do with knowledge
more to do with needing reflection
and hammering things out
under moonlight while things cooled.
It is best to place what is hard
first and hide behind what shines out,
this will let you leverage your way
to the Middle Ages, a plague of fiefdoms
at the gates, but a Renaissance of sorts.
Everything is woven within the moat,
symbols in the tapestries speak of storied
success and threaded victory. Catapults
heave, poultices heal, and an ever present
faith in the alchemy of addition. If I
just had one more: child, pill, dollar,
room, chip, lover, song, hour,
house, car, boat, president, planet,
I would turn this leaden feeling
into a golden egg of invincibility
that would take me through and to Enlightenment.
A time when man and gods converse
in the mute gestalt of everything thrown
across the days like i-ching coins telling
us what is and will be if only we see.
No continent need reign over another
as long as I have mine, as long as you herald
my gentle supremacy. After all the hillocks
have been hand delivered, the birds
understand the unseen hierarchy
and yet still are lifted as they fly.
I confess I fear what I know is coming, the rise
and fall of Victoria, the last gasps and steely rasps
of empire sitting atop hosts of pillows
issuing commands between snoring naps.
If I were a kinder servant perhaps I would
close her like a candlewick daubed dark
with callused fingers each night,
but instead I line the pantry and pray
for mercy. Maybe she will toddle off
the throne sooner than I think, this crown
makes it so hard to raise her head.
Maybe the war of her days need not
instigate whole nations to insanity...
I feel a need to duck and cover, head
for the moon, proclaim the world small
and slice genomes from salmon, invent
tacky plastic we will all want to throw
away but it will not disappear no
it will build up into passive flotillas
capable of strangling the seas.
What age is this? What age is this?
It will be christened by those
who find our sorry bones.
words: Susan Ersinghaus, Connecticut (One Hundred Days Cubed)
image: ''dividing day and night' - bl pawelek, Wisconsin (homepage)
another civilization: the hue of antiquation (#20)