Desperate to learn all there was to learn about
empire, I sought all the hushed men and women
sitting on park benches in the domain
of the blessed and thought again of the executive
looking out over the city from a condo
high enough to rehearse his deadpan
showmanship. I no longer craved
quicksand that was the elite and instead
desired what blue warmth I could gather
around a rusted steel drum and its choir of fire,
there where plastic bags and refuse accumulated
beneath the great conductors of suffering. To experience
Einfühlung, I knew I had only to look with the intensity
of a mystic and let the furtive and quivering creatures
into my marrow and not evade the lovesick
and all their preaching, that I had to let
the innocent refugees line my dreams
and abandon the worm- bound bankers
whose denuded eyesight imprisoned them
in vaults of gold. I blew my nose
and imagined a country of the meek,
a feeling like rosebushes with no thorns.
I have come to rely on the dark pilots
and their sermons of Before you were born . . .
which begin takeoffs on the price
of bread in another age or some collapsed empire,
leaving the telephone poles to pursue
dreams of crucifixions.
Above volcanoes of human emotions,
they lose sight of insects pondering
They carry memories of forest floors, of trees
like the sycamores who do not mind
starring in German fairy tales.
When their windscreens are struck blind
with late autumn light, their foreheads
crease and the only way to compass
out of the maze of question marks
is to hand over control of their instruments.
They think a violent sorrow is coming.
They feel trapped behind cockpit doors,
ripping through clouds like scissors.
They long for milkshakes and to giggle
freely until no longer numb.
They curse the pages of history books
tossed into the sea, on wet rocks, those pages
of wily tyrants who enjoyed erasing the will
of the people like soap bubbles.