Mango pyramids rot in Violet Market down by the ferry
ferrying visitors back across the bay on this, the last day, shore
to shore; this, the Day of Vacation, of evacuation, the kind of day
that calls for monuments constructed of stone women and marble seagulls.
A last flock of starlings takes off from Dock Four, winging north, south,
northwest, voices swallowed by distance, stasis sinking into the air.
The Grandfather Clock Tower has stopped. It will always be
mid-August, midday (12:53) and one man will always be left.
At one time, travelers arrived; tour groups immediately formed
and maps were dispersed. Women held parasols and white lilies, children
carried pinwheels and men wore fedoras above pinstripe suits. As always
in our city: perfection of landscape, sidewalk cafés, dozens
of languages spoken on streets, all understood. If beauty
is dissimilarity, as we once said, the sound of platinum bells rung
recedes into each unique October evening.
Now the only citizen paces the Almond Piazza waiting
for the nonexistent waiter to bring a glass of wine, some conversation.
After I forged him this metropolis, sky-rises fixed with silver mortar,
we relocated here where no one begs for currency, shelter, food
or God. We took long walks down Alizarin Boulevard, we climbed
the Viridian Water Tower in the Latin Quarter for sunset, bottles of Chianti,
and evening crowds below emerged into lamp-lit streets, discussed
the lightness of existence, expanse of history, and sometimes the weather
and just above the bay I would see two moons I never recognized.
(They were your eyes.) If beauty is dissimilarity,
as we once said, I extract only this: his eyes as cyan, wider, less bitter.
The only citizen is waiting for night and firelight, cigarette in hand,
while all the trains have stopped between stations, halted mid-track.
The smokestacks of the West End perfume factories
sit upon the skyline unlit.
He would speak of Derrida, I would speak of Celan
(your eyes were cyan) and we’d speak of Nietzsche’s eternal return,
eternally. Once he asked me about desire, as always
hypothetically. Then the sun set before I endeavored to answer.
Meanwhile, in the Abandoned City, the Water Towers
have been drained. The bay has begun its slow
evaporation. The only citizen is awaiting a glass of wine.
The only citizen will await the slow fermentation, at the city’s outskirts,
of a billion vineyard grapes.
Over us, two moons will rise and undress each other in quarters,
crescently, hip to hip. We’ll lean back, light a couple cigarettes,
echo the two plumes rising from the distant perfume factories, the two of us
dissimilar, as always, in the Abandoned City.