Up against the wall,
…sits odd statuary, sullen sadness
created by hand from nothing more or less
than general failures that anyone might
turn away from on some given day:
A house taken by bankers who would not
settle for anything less from two buyers,
work taken by a promise never meant,
a culture and language unfathomably
resistant to my resistance, failed art
unsold, books stacked in dusty piles
waiting for non-existent readers.
Walk away. We all walk away, they say.
Leave it alone. It doesn’t mean anything—
home, career, art—those broken fragments
of a mirror that once reflected a token self.
Now they show a dark fear, emptiness,
this heavy sculpture unwilling or unable
to step, sing, or share in the world
of carefree surrender—a listening post
that monitors the cries of a million children,
refugees, the screams of thousands
a day sacrificed in violence to bastard wars
that go on unacknowledged—a conflagration
of our nightmares—the continuing
struggles against razor wire, bullets,
land mines, rape, hunger, thirst—
all of the many other varied bacterial
and viral symptoms of the human syndrome.
Silence stands statue-still, hidden
up against the depression in a stone wall
built two-thousand years ago, like
a crumpled piece of paper tucked
safely in a crack, only a plea full of desire
and passion for the healing of a world
that rejects all offers, takes your work,
confuses languages, destroys art, burns books.
Five-hundred years ago the paper slipped
from my fingers, out of reach, into this wall
that holds up contention and strife of a contested
land loved in the name of fallen grace, believing
a small moment may yet revive a spark:
a sprig of lavender picked along the way,
a simple tune hummed in passing,
your quiet summer smile freely given.