A Damascene Nowhere

In the middle of a Damascene nowhere,
I find moss-covered columns
and leftover citadels.
I find falsified happiness,
and compelling traces of genuine despair.
I find dauntingly superficial love,
and quite the intrinsic rage.
I find deep-seated holiness,
and well-nigh genetic shame.
Right there in the middle of a Damascene nowhere.

     I walk through
                   cluttered and stiffening veins,
           the Old Hag remains
                in her own rather peculiar
                                                         I leave behind a jugular,
                                        a few hapless valves,
                              imported novelty,
             and indigenous ruins.
And I receive into my open arms
                               many a crowded square,
                                                             a humbled Mount,
                                          a flourishing swamp,
                            and a prayer.
And as I slither
        through that haunted goo,
                                       that mucus,
                                         that is the unavoidable gift
                                                         of a six thousand years old
                                                                                        case of the flu,
                                                                                                          and civilization,
I cannot help but think about me,
and dying youth.
It’s no wonder our love does not matter here,
there is just too much history here,
too much

April 1999