In the Mission, after Lines from Pasolini
The steadfast eye is agony.
The soul no longer grows.
Along the inner Mission
the street people clamor
for change and little boys
scatter from alleys like mice,
cursing from the pumped up
barrels of their chests at elderly
shopkeepers and delivery men.
I see the lifted chins of art students
who sling their work home
in canvas bags, their pierced faces
glinting like mica in a languid stream.
And always the panning of these eyes –
marveling lenses – snap shooting
the subtle changes in the tint
of the clouds reflected in windows,
the scuffed apricot of taxicabs
shearing the mad street corners
with rubber screams and “fuck you”.
My hand in her hand as the damp
scent of her hair whips like tiny pins
against my face, the strident flesh
of ice plants searing the blue-black shadows
of the median flecked with garbage
as if we had displaced our old wounds
onto the world with our seeing.
The hush of no pedestrians for half a block
as we lean our bodies towards
her doorway redolent of pine wreaths
and the pensive flare of garlic
burning the slanted stairs that climb
from the street with the ache
of a wholesomeness so ripe
that I disappear into it, believing.
This poem was first published in the January 2013 issue of Blue Five Notebook.
Gary Sloboda is a lawyer, writer and musician, not necessarily in that order. His work has appeared in such places as Rattle, Drunken Boat, The Cortland Review, and EOAGH: A Journal of the Arts. He lives in San Francisco.
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