30 January 1999

Councilman Stumbles Home

In my dream you are waiting for me
In a white utopian landscape
Of uncomplicated public buildings.
It is Election Day and
You are wearing a purple scarf.
In the square we embrace
And share a kiss as slow and as lush as
Agriculture as the clock tower strikes
One thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine.
Now it is after closing time and
There is another blizzard.
In a swirling as white and relentless as paperwork,
I am lost and cannot find my Ward
My preoccupied mind
Continually redistricting
This blank map.
Where is the grid beneath this
Tundra of unshoveled sidewalks?
Where is the
City salt for these locally-
Owned businesses?
Through unfamiliar alleyways
I leave tracks between fences
Where property owners sleep
Guarded by wary dogs I cannot name.
There is a constellation described
By certain points of this city:
The bulletin board outside the co-op
The newspapers at the Public Library
The clock opposite
The mailboxes median strips plazas
Brick streets and lampposts.
I have set my course by these stars
And wonder what, if any,
Statement you are prepared to make.
Tonight you attended the meeting
But did not speak.
Leaving me afterward to collect
The shattered ruins
Of my briefcase. I was not always like this.
You were the one from my dream.
And you did not recognize me.
I once wore angry tshirts and was never without 1000
Signatures. All I could think about was
Military spending global warming and sex.
Now the sense of this Earth with which
I once took joy in organic gardening is in peril. I recycle diligently
But no longer own a tent or backpack.
Friendships stiffen into negotiations,
I hear my name murmured in the mallmusic.
Blank newspapers blow through the decrepit
Business district of my heart
There is no one to subsidize a loan for renovation.
Where are you
My would-be constituent?
I spoke as well as I could
And I tipped the bartender
What I had calculated to be a living wage
But there is no satisfaction in any of it.
I clamber through these your snowdrifts
Your unplowed piles of frozen teardrops
A lost citizen.

Newspoetry at Spineless Books