Simultaneous Open Windows

Sketching rocks bathed in light since the sun rose, try to remember dawn.

Open fist against graffitied bricks, he watches crows, remembers death.
Painted peacock lady smiles over traffic lights; checks the mirror, pouts.

Back-to-back on the park bench, a pair wonders if they are dating yet.
Babies bearing swords beat against trees and stones while sandboxes still wait.

Queens rock hi-tops, heads leaning toward hips, and braided babes run.
Mob men in trench coats talk business and horses while sirens wail upstairs.

Holiday blue notes shine cool on midnight sidewalks; her walking pace slows.
By park fountains he reminded her, What’s the point? ––Meaning, of her rage.

Baby boy finds mama’s stash. She won’t know what he eats, until later.
He fell in love: first God, then the ancients, then woman; then he was done.

Don’t tell me what to do, she says, leg crossed over knee. He listens, nods.
Bullet clears rib cage to stop against spine; now there is no need for shoes.

If you sit beneath trees long enough with snacks out, squirrels come to eat.
Makers cross the street. Meeting halfway, they embrace. Cars honk and they laugh.

Joining foreheads, seated lovers bow, form a heart by the fountain mist.
The bracelet was there to remind him to count each memory, but her.

Sketching rocks bathed in light since the sun rose, try to remember dawn.

Notes:
The title comes from the painting by Robert Delaunay (1912, oil on canvas; Tate London). The poem came from an exercise done on the seventeenth of the month. In honor of Alan Ginsberg’s American Sentences (A haiku without line breaks, seventeen syllables), I aimed to write seventeen of them. Then I took some liberties with arrangement and punctuation. Sometimes breaking from the sentence (into two or three), I kept lines of seventeen syllables, each aimed toward a particular scene, during a particular twenty-four-hour period, on a particular street, in an imagined city, present day.

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I am here to wonder out loud. The point is not to get a clear answer, a complete picture, but to remember how incomplete the picture is, to embrace the process once again, of discovery, of questions, to notice the stirrings of wonder. To leave crumbs behind, for the next traveler.

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