He rooted through the city,
pushing up banks of it on either side,
though corner stores and poorly apportioned duplexes slid back into his way.
There are cities that go deep,
age after age of castle and hovel, nose ring and tool,
until you have delved to the tiniest wires screwed to the bedrock.
But with this city, though it piled high, he found no depth.
So he dug himself into the pleasure of ages without bells tolling,
without wheels cracked or turning, without boxes and warehouse manifests.
Deeper under the city floating on its moment he pushed, grunting
until there was nothing civilized, only the anarchic, overlapping
coordinations of animals, rainstorms, pollen and leaves.
My Role in History
I was smaller.
It was my idea that, as president,
I could fit more people into the house.
The house neither grew nor changed its shape.
It turned out I was wrong, which was uncomfortable.
It is not always unpleasant to be wrong,
despite the usual feeling.
I stood on the edge of societal changes,
although my kind received a surprising amount of blame
for things I don’t think hurt anybody.
As president I managed to cut way back on wars.
This displeased people and industries.
Nobody who didn’t die was grateful.
I tried other things and they were uniformly declared failures,
although I thought their colors
were better. I am not one who knows colors, generally.
I changed one life,
but I don’t think fate was burned down.
Smoke came out of the mouth of the beautiful muse.
But it was only the return to the world
of what had been burned in the world.
Water lay over young cities,
and a beautiful air stirred the rags of old hearts.
I was imprisoned,
then pardoned and my memoirs published and praised.
He was a good man, some said.
But my main role in history was as a hapless villain.
That was a bad time, the time of the little fool
who sat on a toadstool thinking it a throne.
I thought nothing of lying awake all night.
I was nobody, my face on an odd denomination
that bought lottery tickets.