beneath the concrete foundations,
and the brittle surface of our lives
are veins that carry that which
powers our culture
and its residue of waste.
beneath the vessels that sustain us,
be they full of wine or song
is the very substance, the littered ground,
upon which we had hoped to build
the very dreams which slay us,
though we find them full
of hot air and steamy breath
from the twentieth century and beyond.
love and hate seep up
through the asphalt flesh of our lovers,
whose promise, now decaying,
is preserved as best we know how
somewhere in a wax museum
or an old northeastern cultural graveyard
where we all become caretakers
of each other’s broken hearts
by sustaining poetic distance,
knowing that if we touch each other
we will die.