from Homeric Turns

Monday, July 5, 2010

The sodium streetlights down the avenue
Were vague globes where the dark turned orange,
And the orange dark. The avenue deserted,
The buildings all abandoned, or soon to be,
I drove, I can’t remember where, or when,
Though it was late, or early, and the night
Was heaviness my headlights had to push
Through slowly, till I passed a side street where
I saw two figures fighting, two men, one pummeling
The other against the hood of a parked car.
A woman nearby screamed, For God’s sake, stop!
And suddenly the hero of the story,
God-crazed with justice, without thinking, I
Slammed on the brakes, and, running hard to throw
Myself between them, shouted, Hey Hey Hey,
Suddenly bigger and stronger than I was.

Well, that’s the story, anyway. In the one
I’d later come to tell about what happened,
I don’t exactly say that I was fearless,
Or even that I ran to help; I say
Instead I walked as slowly as I could,
And hoped with every step the guy would stop
Before I got there. I smile then, sheepishly, 
As if to say I know it isn’t right
To seem too much the hero of a story,
It makes a better story if you’re not,
And thus makes you a better hero. And so
I then say when I got there I discovered
It wasn’t a fight at all, but only shadows
The streetlight threw down through a windswept tree
Against the car hood, and no woman screamed,
Although, in truth, she did, or might have, I don’t know
Really, I couldn’t say if she was there,
Or not, it was so late, after all, or early,
in the orange darkness of a strange
Dark city I was lost in, and besides
My heart was pounding so hard as I drove past
I couldn’t tell you what it was I saw.

Thursday, July 1, 2010