and sideways down the streets. What sails
above you are thought clouds filled with misspelled
but beautiful words of half-sleep wisdom; what lies
beneath you are three hundred years of dead city landscape,
a concrete mural of history written by outlaws and scam artists
before they collapsed under the weight
of the cold heavy blood in their veins;
corruption and murder, business as sleight of hand
to wrestle the downtrodden who rise, momentarily,
back down to the levels below ground,
to all the lower levels of loam and clay.
And we sell and sell this image of us
as saints who only occasionally sin and are sequestered
by class are then reformed like the newest billboard,
the new brand, and all our beautiful new ideas.
So you give birth like this, and you sail like that.
Everyone who came in on a ship is less likely to sail.
And I feel like a drunk again even when there’s only
black liquid and sugar in my cup,
because everything is a penumbra of dirt and filth,
crawling like ants around a discarded plate,
everything except that which floats or flies.
Photograph by Jose Padua