Song: Infernal

The New Republic

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BOOKS NOVEMBER 19, 2008

Song: Infernal

I was lost in the middle of my life
when the planes hit the towers,
lost in the middle of my life
when the glass gods, one at a time, cowered

and fell, when a bomb of blue sky
exploded a bride where she stood--
I was lost in the middle of my life,
far from a leopard, far from a dark wood-- 

when the night clerk at Circle K
handed me back too much change,
I was lost in the middle of our life's way,
when an army of wings arranged 

on flatbed trucks brushed past me on the road,
I was lost in the hallways of a glass dream,
trying to find my way out to the ground
turning in circles, crying secretly 

in green languages, unknown even to me--
far from a lion, far from a dark wood--
with armfuls of fritos, and ribs, and iced tea,
and web pages circling through my blood. 

There were wires all around, and siren wails
and people running about, bereft and intent
as I. I didn't know whether to stay still
and wait for my life to grow transparent 

there in my chair, with the sprinklers overhead
like golden showers of sorrow
and emergency lights flashing red
up and down the hall 

or whether to run madly from stairwell
to stairwell, kissing women's knees
and the foreheads of men, drunk on cries for help
beseeching and singing and weeping 

entering one life after another
and leaping from each one. Yes, I
was lost in the middle of the tower
when I came upon my life.

This article originally ran in the November 19, 2008 issue of the magazine.

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