unveiling

Rumors of War
On a Wednesday night
in our New South,
a black man

astride a horse
sees the cold, almost-
ripe moon for the first time.

heavy drapes hang
on the bronze bolts of his hair
for forty full minutes 

in the sinking light,
tugged free at last by an unnamed fireman
as a marching band plays. 

so like the old Capital: all pomp and letting go
by degrees. it’s how the papers will spin it, anyway,
ghosts murmuring softly into the rain

while the crowd cheers
and the politicos pat themselves
under their wide umbrella-grins.

the generals down the block
are not moved. maple leaves
blush red in the late fall air.

next night, just across the river,
music spills for the first time
in a white-bricked café, 

full-ish house, applause.
a pink-haired kid with a violin has struck
up Ashokan Farewell, another song 

on a playlist of our beautiful dead.
like most people, we can’t see the monuments
from here, nor—most days—the ghosts.

it’s as if nothing has changed,
nothing significant at all, except
the moon, now full, 

looking down
on a slightly different city.

ember & ash

now the city’s once-poets,
rock-chained and rail-thin,
spout river rust
and rain-washed chalk
plans for overtight epics,
kick
back with
dinnertime gigs
and dimestore glories picking the dead
bits off mediocrity-ridden skin,
become suburban and
enamored
of cheap tequila
Tuesdays that can’t quite erase
the foregone diagnosis
of cancer where
it
hurts the
most. hearthfire
wasn’t sacred
before it existed;
where is your
Prometheus
now?