Poem: Beyond this place

Graffiti strewn alley walls miss the fingers of hands, on stretched out arms,
Just. Dark cobbles glint deep below heavy soled boots,
reflecting the bright light of the sky; cool and welcoming,
but even quietly tip toeing: out of reach up high.

Or just above? A moment passes: millennia.
And the walls stretch away, minutely out of the grasp of clutching fingers.
Filthy water trickles between stones, scuffed with gritted soles,
delicate toes en pointe trip and flail at the luscious sky.

Enclosed on both sides, below and above,
long halls stretch ahead and behind, to everywhere
or nothing; radiant and murky. A clipped heel flicks off flinted paving,
sparking and illuminating shallow caverns, fathoms of stairs.

Fingertips feel ahead and find naught. Finding that nothing,
they touch upon it, only to lose, shielding their dazzled eyes as they look up:
Souls flinching at debris beneath the place where their feet do tread.
The heat and coolness create a blank space. Here they wait.

What of the wait? Heavy and recurring, claustrophobic and immense.
Immersed in contradictions of repetitiveness and swallowed by detail,
the slow step along the same pavement, sullen and perturbed at
the inaction of it all. Frequent yet rare,

unkind and touching, and all or none of these things.
Do they navigate a leaning pole; dance to a salsa beat? Do they?
Vacuous and weighted with the anticipation you’ve seen, and a finite wait
of boundless possibility: The hope.

Arise! Fall. Float above or between it all. Or sink and be damned,
the fates decide, deriding again the lingering, marking off names from their list.
Actions spur consequence, or effect borne of deed? Again and again
the toil of field or concrete flexes it’s might. Bile rises, falls.

We fail to grasp again, are surprised at its return.
Your heart droops, again, and spasms of sadness are digested, again.
From where do we come to, like this? Or for this, perhaps.
For what have we come, or with what, perhaps?

With a blistered heat we were found fallen, blighted by
searing soil and festering rock. Condemned in perpetuity,
suddenly relieved of anything tasteful. Yes, we fell.
Weren’t caught, weren’t meant to be. The fates passed that page long ago.

Peaceful arms of cloud cocoon us in cool warmth.
We saw ranges of field and mountain and skipped across them, dainty,
delicate and serene. We felt all and felt it well,
it caused us to delight in it, and we never left.

The duvet is too warm, so I kicked it off, but now cold,
I pull it back up around my chin. Warm again,
my eyelids wait to feel heavy. Called again,
By the sweet fright of sleep to douse me in sweat.

Was I for here, or was I once there, on all sides at once,
but never one or the other. I fear that I fall between them all,
in this temperate vacuum, awaiting pronouncement:
I cease, or stir.


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