Walking Around in Brussels
They are building a bigger Metro
in Brussels, it will take three years.
The streets are one large gaping wound, with
their intestines strewn on the sidewalks,
while somewhere in my brain Bob Marley
sings about cutting trees with a small axe.
From Grand Place to Palace Royale
men in orange coats to pick and shovel
the earth to expose the vein for the steel
couplings, electric wires, stone steps,
and metal signs that would link human
muscles with the whirling earth, so that
men would reach it faster, cheaper,
but not Bob Marley’s man, the herbsman,
who can cure his wound with a chant.
What does it want, this city of old folks?
Should they not totter on a cane or drag
their carcass across the lane? Why should
they get nowhere faster, as if their bone
bewailed contemplating tulips
in the sun and birds pecking at crumbs?
Let them move like snails, if need be,
let them stumble and fall on their skin,
let their sorrow begin, but their solitude
also, the whell of their soul, which moves them
to their heart’s tune, not the Metro’s,
nor any architect’s. The paths
of their soul have no texts,
only calling cards that fly with the wind,
and the wind, O the fickle wind,
when it calls them, they crawl from fire
and blanket, still bleary-eyed,
to follow it to yet another vague, fearsome sleep.