Plain American Language

I cut a sliver/of WC William's finger
and placed it inside/my philosophy...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


On M St., on the way to Georgetown,
before the main strip,

under a hotel's great brick cuppula,
appears a sculpture:

people crammed into one another,
crowding, hurrying, large-eyed
and looking at something
(we never know what)
with such intent, almost religious wonderment.
They forget

that in the back, they're pushing too.
A cigar smolders
exhaling ghosts into the air
and skeletal men laboring and laboring
as they slowly sink into the metal
that forged them.

I look at the faces of this fountain
sculpture in the entryway of Republica,
off the Alameda, in which
men and women alike
(the only difference are lumps on their chests)
stare into that bubbling spigot--
water over-flowing into the drain
at the base of the lifted bowl
(I don't know if this is bronze
or stone) and every one of them blank---
not even etched out,
just smoothed away, born without time
to mark the progression of their eyes,
how tired they must become
as night pushes itself into day---
just looking; always looking.

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