New York City skyline at night




Mark Nickels

La Dolce Vita

The memory lists top heavily with certain shapes,
such as standing on the seashore weakly drunk
and waving off the better angels of your nature. Meanwhile
your compatriots fuss over a leviathan hauled ashore by young men
who live more authentically than you. That was then. Then,
too, the night your father came to see you, played the gay blade
at the nightclub, then feeling ill and guilty, called off his liaison
with a call girl and insisted he go home and age. Your best friend
shot himself, and police photographers used step ladders
to photograph the beds of his two children, both red launching pads
disheveled with fresh silence. There were a series of brief and silly
musical tableaux, each prominently featuring the cha-cha
and you watched a drunken socialite, possessed by cornered
spirits, moan for more existence in a boarded villa. No one
remembers anymore but you, and finally even you are gone,
who left thick envelopes of vivid dreaming. All the life
that might be yours combines with mine in memory until
I can't remember which was which — my life from birth,
or my sweet year, the year I was conceived.



I made tonight a ten inch
tortilla espanola, ate half of it,
with raspberry jam, then listened
to thunder, which turns
my mind in the right direction,
toward abundant unknowing
always, as if I'd heard it
in the womb, and it imprinted
then, where I tend to follow it
like, say, geese followed
Konrad Lorenz, away
from my hungers. It,
bigger than me, naturally,
is inscrutable, lost in its
thought, crashing through
green with white hair of cloud,
downgraded for some millennia
from godhood, but signal
from the old world that is
never old, a scroll of silver
tumbling down the staircase,
uninscribed, out of mind.



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