the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Fall 2011



George Wallace

A Savior of Men

he knows his choices. to look through the window out
to where a god is walking — the place where sunlight
meets the sea — or to become the window. we honor
him when we use him freely. ie gaze through windows
to watch snow filling up the spaces between the trees,
or mist rising up from a working harbor. glass of a factory
window steams up or is crisscrossed with dust & cobwebs.
a savior of men is in the shadow on the wall, a spyglass
a sailor looks through to find his way across water. clear
as the eye of a whale, even the glass which holds strong
spirits. a horizon of love or hospitality or rank desire in the
low slung saloon. raw whiskey in a looking glass is like
grandmother placing cut flowers in a crystal vase. once
a lantern on a seacliff greeted us — like a handkerchief
after a journey of ten thousand miles. what is the shape
that is released when black birds fly across an empty
sky? what is the sound a pane of glass makes when it
is touched by a cancer patient at break of dawn? every
thing cries. wind chimes. chainsaws. ash trays. the erotic
pain of survivors and saints is proud as a fountain through
which sunbeams fly — furious as peacock feathers.


My Little Town at Sunset

you must see my little town at sunset. it is goldenrod
yellow with flecks of red. like blood that has flowed
from a deep wound and will not pool up. especially
at the grocers after a good healthy rain when the sun
comes out but so far nothing else is moving. trucks
and cars splash through a puddle and then they move
out of the picture. a woman with a shopping cart is
pushing a baby with long arms that stretch nearly to
the sky. a few loose circulars are migrating to the sea.
the whole scene is a watercolor that's gone mad with
itself. it all sounds very sentimental, but as you have
suspected we are sentimental people, modest people
in a modest little american town, gasping for air with
the last gasp of the sun. anyhow like i say you must
see my little town at sunset, when the sun goes down
in a goldenrod haze. only this will do for us, and a small
flock of parking lot seagulls fluttering into and out of the
picture, like newsprint.



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