Sunday, April 10, 2022

Through an Old Venetian Mirror, the Better Not to See Oneself

History has been destroyed, but Venice
Lets us dream, as if we know the buried world
Still rising, albeit slowly, from the sea.

You know these people walking here too well,
These strange buildings are beyond familiar,
Your steps have an occult purpose of their own,

But Venice feels nothing, that's what it gives to us
With foliated flames, leaded windows fine as lace, 
Iron on walls and bars and coats of arms in marble,

The columns in the sky imposing on the air,
The scars of brick, the peeling shutters
That lend age its undeniable character.

The roads are holes, winding from one extreme
Window display gesture to another.
The palpitations of art intermingle

In a glorious ambiguity
Like the shine in the Byzantine glass
That projects everywhere its lack of

Specificity. The streets will lead away
In seeming circles, as the wind moves the shutters
Open and closed, but only for effect --

That the drapery folds enter into God
A kaleidoscopic facet of the
Moment set in crystal, enough to forestall

The pain that is seeing someone else
In the blue clear light, with all that can't be done
With mere sight. The Nobles are the ghosts

Who've devoured souls as you would eat bruschetta.
They are not wrong to say the choice was theirs
And that this overhang is part of the elegance

One might even call sublime. The objects call,
Exquisites of leather, marionettes
And masks, canoli and glass, an artisan 

Crafts a guitar as an axeman plays one.
This place is full of such consolations
For the money curse, the best from the locations

They've trade scavenged, in some time and place where
Reality was far more mutable
And marble could be curved like optic glass.

None of the calle's can lead away,
Shopping bags jostling, from your choice of
Obligation; they are runs to freedom

That end at the Grand Canal, as all dreams
In Venice do, the hailing of Charon
And his cab to take one back to the underworld.