21 Audio Track 20-35-02


The sun is sinking beneath roofs

too many to mark or number

and in the light of porches

in the winking light of bedrooms

souls dressed in finest flesh

linger and breathe.


This is not the second coming of the Lord

this is not the time of fire anew and baptism

this is another evening the same as many:

a young girl sits before her mirror,

fingering her small, firm breasts

an old woman slips slowly into bathwater

she is dreaming of the mirror and her young body

she smiles, she remembers.


Up in his bedroom a young boy punches buttons

on his radio, on his lifeline beyond the house

voices, music, slick and fast, from faraway places

names like Chicago, Los Angeles and Tennessee

his spirit soars above the house on wings of airwaves.


Down the block the ancient man sits in his attic

he is reading an old manuscript, he does not smile,

words and paper so old they crumble in his fingers

he sees his life failing before him, he remembers only

the times and people recovered by the words on

the dusty parchment, he would cry if he had any tears.


Young one who touched her breasts before the mirror

she has energy like light, she will leap from

her tousled room into the streets, she will not be

apprehended, she is hot and lusty, there is no one to stop her.


And where will the young boy go on wings of voices

will he one day clutch a faded paper, will his eyes

falter and dim, or will he be the bird who flies

soft and free, ready for whatever the air brings to him.


The old woman is crooning in her bathtub, the neighbors

can hear her through the plaster-thin wall

the old one’s batty, they say, but she knows the words to her song,

she knows how to sing them, to the wall, to her

neighbors, to the window, the sky, the whole universe

hers is a song of age and spirit, hers is a melody

neverending, it will play her into death, into the great

realm of spirit, it is a good song, cheerful and strong

enough to do it.


The sun falls below rooftops, too many to count or number

in the glow of porches, flickering lamp of bedrooms

all the young ones growing old, all the old ones dying

they step forward into their lives, into their lives past

living, with a smile, with tears, with promise or regret

they are fleshy spirit, they are radiant light, there are

pathways marked by their illumination.