by gm

James Langer


It waits beyond the floating dock and harbour’s quiet calm,
Beyond inclinations of tide and lunar phases.
It’s past the bourgeois renos and open houses staged
For a sigh to come later. It is likewise out of range
Of voices cursing the city planner, his name,
His merciless resistance to our common sense,
And the fact he never existed. Its coordinates
Unknown to porch-light sensors tracking migratory patterns
Of the downtown polyamorous, who flash therapist’s scripts,
Labelled Rx, like border passes. It’s above
The humane proximity of peeler bar to rub and tug,
Up the long-faced hill that’s for giving pause to angry drunks,
And a moment’s peace, before treeless compounds
Of the derelict classes: cheap aluminum siding, concrete,
Narrow casements constructed around washouts
And an ill will that amasses in the ample spaces
Tenanted by what’s deficient, where the next break-in,
The next home invasion, can be clocked by the time it takes
The district’s active agents to burn through the last M2s.
Around the bend and past the covenant light of corner convenience,
You’ll find it luminously negated by the economies of scale
And tract housing, as each modest cross-gable fails a lost original
And higher ideal. Canted retaining walls, scant easements,
Flat-out pavement—a place that extends to everyplace else,
So is comparable to nothing and therefore meaningless. Here
Your destination’s frozen in the semblance of a hare
Enacting stone beneath the shrinking shadow of a hawk.
Up the steps, a simple knock across the double-pane,
Over the threshold, to within an arm’s length,
Where a suffering distance remains between and contains
Everything love might make of us, the good life:
Pristine, unlived, and hidden in plain sight.