Cry from the Street
Some nights you hear a cry of despair from the street
meaning, “Help I’m being robbed!” or “Help I’m being raped!”
and soon the sirens howl and the dogs howl for the next hour.
But other times the cry from the street means “Help, my life is nearly gone and I haven’t done anything that’s important!”or “Time is flying and I still don’t know what it is I’m supposed to do!”
or “Help! Death is closing in and no one will remember me
when I’m gone!”
But no sirens howl for them, no ambulances come to a screeching halt with guys in white leaping out the door to give oxygen to the lost souls.
Is there anything to do for these people but sympathize?
If you’re inside a window and they’re out on the street,
shouting in the falling rain or broiling sun,
it means you’re lucky and they’re not.
By the merest deal of the deck you went tripping down the road
to food and love and music and cats and books to read and a job that made a difference.
While they fell into a deep track that circles round and round
until they drop.
The ways of God are odd. Or if there is no God
we’re down to luck, as cold as ice, as cruel as shock.
Pity them. Give thanks.
This hot afternoon I placed a drinking
glass over a little butterfly hooked to my window
that looks out over the garden
but is painted shut, slid a bill beneath her dainties,
bore her out the door in her glass carraige,
pulled the slip away and watched her bound
into the blue
They crown the boulevard,
up and down the hills, tropical birds on the legs of elephants.
And always they cheer us,
seeming to lead toward something sexy, like a corny calendar – a smoldering sun in the waves, ivory beach, nude moon,
paradise even, since there’s a hint of those we dream of
no matter with whom we sleep,
those others, made of bits & pieces of dream desire –
they wait for us at the end of the trees with their arms wide
and their eyes an invitation,
though each time we dead end on Market Street and the job downtown. No matter.
The next time we steer our cars under the palms
our hearts swell anyway.
Hope is necessary