Deeper into Ohio, city life was
so small the silence was deafening.
Stranded near the top of the scale,
the old songs got squeaky the more
they were sung. Buildings dreamed of
man-made implosions and earthquakes.
Children sat alone in their high-rise
bedrooms, and learned the words
that gave their parents pause.
The racket in those dorm rooms
was droning and stable. Frank was
crying, crooning and mooing,
We’ll be together again.
Meanwhile mothers were learning
to be mean in trailer parks somewhere
north of this. Children teased
their hair with rat-tail combs.
They sat at pianos, looking
at themselves in guilty mirrors.
It was so lonely to be so alone.
A smaller, younger, more female
suburb cried herself to sleep,
high once more, weeping for
her older, bigger, manly city—
and so many miles away!
Remember there’s always tomorrow.
So what if we had to part,
the clouds said, the sky is the
same sky all over the world.
But back in the city it was
hard to see or hear in those
smoky classrooms. And harder
yet with cloudy eyes.
Hair tearing was choreographed to
old standards and the old guys
did not mind: their tapes sang on with
unbridled persistence, ignorant
of the coming end of time and those
blind movements around them.
So try thinking with your heart
that a trailer park is not forever.
Try to remember that cities await
you—a city for every wish, lit
up like candles on cake. Remember
that demolition men celebrate
each building’s climb toward the heavens.
And angels tune their harps in
anticipation of a later time, a time
when singers’ throats run dry, when
citizens secede from their states,
a time when feeling lonesome will not
matter as much, a t—