The Far Shore
The last time I thought music would conquer the earth
I spun my crooked path northward toward its pole.
I sought out cold, and shivered at the sun,
my teeth set against the neon splash of culture.
Taking up the tongue of fear, I hoarded tales,
clutched them to my person like a tramp's last dollar.
They grew limp with sweat as I rejoiced
in each nuance I discovered. I offered them to Charon,
who laughed, and rowed away.
The city is naked and paid for,
and of the million million stories held here,
not one is worth the telling.
Salesmen grinning sports scores to bored women,
beggars blinking hair from their cheap meals,
poets howling words a dime a stanza
train conductors dozing at the rails.
Loves are lost, loves are gained,
loves are easily exchanged,
neon blinks, doormen wink,
mannequins are rearranged.
She is an aging whore who knows her business,
Disposing of each client ruthlessly.
The last time I thought music would conquer the earth,
I pressed the last of my money upon strangers.
Not one of them refused it, though all doubted,
peering through each bill suspiciously.
I packed a single bag, and wore a winter's jacket,
tramped off in search of some true currency.
I drank a toast to madness, and left them to their fire.
I'd yet to recognize within the music
the voices clamoring upon the farther shore.