It was the first real city

we’d ever invaded.

City of whirling shadows

bent by the mad dance

of the sun with the clouds.

City where giant bemused

sea gulls walked the streets

obeying traffic signals,

while men circled in the clouds

in their towers

reeling with the earth.

It was a city ripe for the

taking and we had

the key to all the doors.

Raiding cellars,

cracking open the precious wines

meant for solemn ceremonies,

we poured those

saved up festivals

down our gullets,

down the sink,

down the parched boulevards,

and happily devoured

unfingered baskets of fruit.

Drunk, deserted by visions at last,

even the love we made,

holding hands,

scaling the vertical streets,

could not plug the hemorrhaging

where the cork had burst.

The city surrendered too easily,

we exhausted our

fevered rucksacks,

and there, under the

lurching towers,

sick from the pungent

cheeses we’d fed them,

you grew dark and

sullen and beautiful,

a marauder repulsed

by the silences that

followed the collapse of ecstasies,

the folly of our processions,

the tragedy of our

failed republic.

The weather was turning

and we crossed over

the devastation,

the trashed hotel rooms,

and departed

that unaccustomed city,

which still sometimes,

vaguely felt,

brings thunderstorms

and over-ripe flowers

to me when I am sad.


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014


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