Man is inherently evil, they
spat, fists clenched in bolded riot,
humanity peeking from their shadows,
Hungry, holey and Hand-Me-Down rags,
draped over shoulders hunched,
stiff under denim and flaking dirt,
waiting at sidewalk stops to enter
tin cans barreling
down tight lanes, sardines on-the-go.
Earlier, a boy’s soles slipped on opaque
slick, silence before the crash,
fishing line hands outstretched to hook
the floundering fellow on fallen snow,
eyes embarrassed, relieved,
as he was pulled to his feet by stranger gloves.
Tripping in the city, it’s too
cramped here, they’ll say,
just asking to be knocked down.
We build anyway, teetering on the lip
of rooftop and brick breaking
Our fall, so after all, each breaking back
dreamt for a reason, we built for a reason,
we stood up, ablaze
with pride, tough with burgundy sweat
to stand atop and tame the stars,
getting closer so that we
can be cooled by the misty spray
from river of midnight blue, sloshing
stars and promising,
new heights to the ants in boxes below.
Gleaming down on eyes glistening,
wetness pouring deep,
breaching dams of doubt outward.
Breathing for better, hearts pounding
bright in arable soil,
wandering, stumbling souls who shirk
certainty we don’t have time for.
We’re too busy burning
below, forming ramshackle ladders
from our kingdom of rippling hands,
clearing away the ashes,
and if one domino falls, we all do.
-Tyler Martin, 2015 (after Stephen Dunn’s “Loveliness”)